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Webb, James. THE OCCULT UNDERGROUND (1974) and THE OCCULT ESTABLISHMENT (1976). Set of 2 volumes. La Salle, IL: Open Court. 1st editions.

Hardcover of THE OCCULT UNDERGROUND. Fine in orange cloth with gilt-stamped spine, in VG non-priceclipped dustjacket with a trace of wear to top edges; WITH paperback of THE OCCULT ESTABLISHMENT, VG in pict wpps with a little light foxing to top edge. Both volumes have the bookplate of noted occult collector Leigh Blackmore. Sold as a set only.

Just when it seemed that Science and Reason had scored their greatest triumphs, the mid-nineteenth century witnessed an astonishing rebirth of occultism and anit-rationalism: the beginnings of the movement we now call New Age. A secret tradition of knowledge rejected by the Christian or Scientific establishments suddenly became emboldened to seek publicity and converts. James Webb’s painstaking research carry him into the undergrowth inhabited by such illuminated personages as Madame Blavatsky, the Reverend Leadbeater, the Bortherhood of Luxor, Annie Besant, Krishnamurti, Swami Vivekananda, Spiritualists, Rosicrucians, Vegetarians, Mithraic cults, and all manner of occult propagandists.

“fascinating detail . . . particularly good in tracing the obscure and subterranean spiritual affiliations through which these pilgrims of eternity were bound together . . . as relevant to our own time as it is to the nineteenth century.”–Goronwy Rees, ENCOUNTER