Aleister Crowley was a blustery coward, an arrogant, misogynistic racist with fascist leanings, and a callous user, as often threatened by his sexuality as he claimed to be liberated by it. But he was also a groundbreaking poet and an iconoclastic visionary whose literary and cultural legacies extend far beyond the limits of his reputation. This controversial individual, a frightening mixture of egomania and self-loathing, has inspired passionate--but seldom fair--assesments by historians. Sutin, by treating Crowley as a cultural phenomenon, and not simply a sorcerer or a charlatan, convinces skeptic readers that the self-styled "Beast" remains a fascinating study in eccentricity.
Lawrence Sutin is a professor in the M.F.A. program at Hamlin College and holds a J.D. from Harvard University. His works include Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick; Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance; and A Postcard Memoir.
“Sutin's perceptive study restores this controversial figure to his proper place in the history of modern spirituality.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
“A rich narrative . . . This is certainly the biography against which to measure the lurid claims and devout counterclaims prompted by the Crowley legend.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Sutin wonderfully details the eccentricities of this puzzling man . . . The result is a fascinating, easily readable narrative about one of the most interesting cultural phenomena of the late Victorian period.” —Library Journal
“The definitive biography . . . Sutin's work will remain a benchmark against which all future biographies of Crowley will be measured.” —James Wasserman, author of Art & Symbols of the Occult and The Militia of Heaven