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Sorcery Club

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Sorcery Club



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The Sorcery Club by Elliott O'Donnell
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Elliott O'Donnell (1872-1965) is hardly known in this country, but in England he was for many years its most celebrated ghost-hunter. By turns melodramatic, slapstick, sentimental, racist, misogynist, embarrassing and horrific, "The Sorcery Club" is hardly a great novel of the supernatural. It lacks the artistic seriousness, power and conviction, as well as the stylistic excellence, of such masterpieces as Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" or John Meade Falkner's "The Lost Stradivarius." Perhaps its greatest strength lies in the tawdry realism of the rituals and magical protocols O'Donnell describes (complete with footnotes). These, one feels, are just the formulas and ingredients that fin de siecle occultists would employ in their satanic negotiations. As a plus, the 2014 Ramble House edition of "The Sorcery Club" reproduces the eerie black-and-white illustrations of the 1912 original (now a $1,000 book). The artist Phillys Vere Campbell was the sister of Marjorie Bowen, one of the most admired practitioners of supernatural fiction (her novel, "Black Magic" was number 13 in Wheatley's occult library, although she is best known for such short stories as "The Crown Derby Plate" and "The Avenging of Ann Leete"). Further enhancing this new Ramble House reprint are an introduction by eminent horror scholar John Pelan and a brief afterword by the book's cover designer, Gavin O'Keefe. Still, be warned: "The Sorcery Club" may seem an example of dated turn-of-the-century diabolism, but I wouldn't try any of its weird invocations at home."
Release date Australia
November 3rd, 2015
Country of Publication
United States
black & white illustrations
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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