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Tietoja tekijästä

Joscelyn Godwin is Professor of Music at Colgate University. He has written many books on music, mysticism, and Western esoteric traditions.

Sisältää nimet: Jocelyn Godwin, Joscelyn Godwin

Tekijän teokset

The Pagan Dream Of The Renaissance (2002) 152 kappaletta
The Theosophical Enlightenment (1994) 120 kappaletta
The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor (1995) 120 kappaletta
Music, Mysticism and Magic (1986) 104 kappaletta
The Mystery of the Seven Vowels (1991) 93 kappaletta
The Harmony of the Spheres (1993) 87 kappaletta

Associated Works

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: The Strife of Love in a Dream (1499) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset758 kappaletta
Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul (1992) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset305 kappaletta
The Chemical Wedding (1616) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset237 kappaletta
The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited (1999) — Avustaja — 69 kappaletta
The Masters Revealed: Madam Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge (1994) — Esipuhe, eräät painokset40 kappaletta
Rosicrucian Digest : Hermetism (2015) — Avustaja — 4 kappaletta
Fortean Times 97 — Avustaja — 3 kappaletta
Studies in Illustration, No. 74, Spring 2020 (2020) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta

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What's the deal with New York state and social movements? Upstate New York is a fascinating part of the country for all kinds of reasons, but one of the least visible ones is its outsized role in American history as an incubator for utopian experiments of all kinds, going back 200 years: socialist colonies, artistic communes, or entire religions like the Mormons. There doesn't seem to have been an equivalent density of religions, spiritualist movements, or cults founded in other parts of the country, at least not until the Bay Area in the 60s, so I was curious to see if there was something special about the land east of Erie County and north of New York City. Does clustering work for religions just like it does for industries, and the counties along the Erie Canal are the modern equivalent of ancient centers of religiogenesis like the Fertile Crescent, the Motown of messiahs? Is there some demographic peculiarity that's persisted throughout the centuries throughout waves of immigration, attracting a certain kind of prophet or seeker? Or is there just something in the water of the Finger Lakes, as it were? I don't feel like Godwin (whose name fortuitously means "friend of God") really answered my questions about why here and not elsewhere, since this book is really just a long list, but not only are the relationships between all of these people really engaging, even if you're familiar with the area you will learn a lot about the truly staggering number of dreamers whose legacies began here.

Upstate was fairly secular in the pre-Revolutionary period, only catching the spiritual fever during the Second Great Awakening. This transformed it into the Burned-Over District, whereupon it immediately began spawning an enormous variety of interrelated social campaigns. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is just how truly fecund some areas were. For example, Port Gibson (Hiram Edson, founder of the Seventh-Day Adventists), Palmyra (Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church), and Hydesville (Kate and Maggie Fox, pioneers of poltergeists) are all tiny towns within a 15 minute drive of each other. Furthermore, each of those movements was very plugged into the zeitgeist: Edson was inspired by William Miller (whose predictions that the world would end in 1843 and/or 1844 resulted in the Great Disappointment), Joseph Smith's father was a professional treasure hunting scam artist (all the rage at the time, hence the golden plates Smith was so adept at finding and then making conveniently disappear), and the Fox sisters themselves had plenty of ties to the Quakers, feminists, abolitionists, and seemingly every other progressive development of the era.

That seemingly paradoxical connection between religious movements and secular movements was not as surprising then as it seems today, since those who were dissatisfied with orthodoxies of all kinds talked to each other, and shared many goals of improving society. Thus you have socialist phalansteries next to Shaker villages; obscurantist Freemasonry cheek by jowl with the self-improvement Chatauqua Assembly; Millennialist Christians like Charles Finney inspiring both free love experiments like John Noyes' Oneida Community and freethinkers like Robert Ingersoll; yogi George Bragdon succeeding abolitionists Frederick Douglass and William Garrison in Rochester; the atheist Skaneateles Community spawning from the same ground as a major Quaker ministry; the Arts and Crafts Movement touching upon both the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the hippies in Woodstock; author of the Wizard of Oz series L. Frank Baum marrying the daughter of radical feminist Matilda Gage, who along with fellow suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton directly connected via freethought to Andrew Dickson White and Ezra Cornell, the founders of Cornell University; and even proto-X-Files enthusiast Charles Fort fitting neatly into a proud tradition of paranormal enthusiasts, of who the famous Theosophist like Helena Blavatasky was only one. Rarely have I had to flip back and forth through an index so vigorously to keep track of the connections, which extend far beyond what I just listed.

I didn't really get answer to my question of why the Erie Canal is such an artery of enthusiasm though; at the end I was still left with my vague impression that more oddballs of a greater variety have been drawn more strongly to upstate New York for a longer time than anywhere else for mysterious reasons not amenable to overly strict analysis. It's not revivalist religious enthusiasm smoothly transforming into broader interests, or else you'd probably see a similar mélange of movements in places like Arkansas or Tennessee. It's not simply demographics, or else the Germans in Wisconsin or Texas should have resembled their New Yorker cousins, and likewise for the other ethnic groups in the region (my Buffalo-born mother is Irish and Italian, neither of which appear to have the zeal for creating new religions anywhere else they've settled in the US). It's also not just geography, because although neighboring areas like Vermont or the Susquehanna Valley do still maintain some similar social experiments like the Amish or hippie communes, they don't have the sheer variety New York did. It's not even just that the 19th century was a uniquely good time to let your hair down, because even though nobody has stumbled on stone tablets in a while, upstate still has a vast array of charmingly eccentric ateliers and art studios. The land between the Taconic Mountains and the Southern Tier fermented more than religions - all kinds of secular movements like socialism, anti-slavery, temperance, feminism, and nonsectarian education made major strides here, connected by a questioning spirit that wasn't present in the rest of the country. Even hugely influential companies like Kodak, Xerox, and IBM have deep upstate roots, though business is outside the scope of the book.

Oh well, even if Godwin didn't answer my question, he wrote a copiously well-researched chronicle that only left me even more interested in the region. My hat is off to him for trawling through so many screeds, manifestos, prophecies, and Grand Theories of Everything, and the helpful maps at the end would make great itineraries for quite a few road trips. By the end, you're more than ready to found your own cult amongst the pines of the Adirondacks; can there be any higher praise?
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aaronarnold | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 11, 2021 |
An "ok" book. Nothing earth shattering. The author provides summaries of the works of other authors who discuss Atlantis. No new hypotheses or conclusions are reached. Interesting if you haven't read too much about Atlantis, repetitive if you have.
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ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
A fascinating academic (but very readable) study of eccentric religious movements that emerged in mid-19th century upstate New York. Cauldron is an apt descriptor as the region spawned an effusion of sects whose beliefs were quite in contrast to conventional dogmas. This region is where I reside so the places and some of the religious oddities are familiar to me, such as the Oneida Community in Sherrill, the Millerites, the Shakers and the beginnings of Mormonism In Palmyra. I am familiar with the revival movement for which Charles Finney is well-known; he began his preaching in our village church (Westernville) and even in our home to its first occupants. He related in his memoirs the emotional conversion of the ladies of the house. The "perfectionist" religious ideology and its relation to the abolitionism extant throughout the area is something I am aware of. I now know that my understanding of the religious and spiritual currents in central New York is the tip of iceberg of an amazing array of sects and beliefs, all of which except Mormonism are now extinct.

Professor Godwin describes many lessor known religious leaders of obscure sects across the region. Godwin doesn't give much space to Finney, but focuses on the more unusual characters and sects. Roughly half the book covers spiritualist craze (mediums, seances, rappings, etc.) that emerged in western New York about 1850. He covers in detail the Eastern oriented occult movements such as those centering around Theosophist's and others.

The virtual explosion of these alternatives in the region was perhaps an aversion to the pessimistic and dour Calvinist orthodoxy imposed by the traditional denominations.

The book appends a gazetteer that notes the dozens of locations of the sects and movements chronicled in the book.
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stevesmits | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 1, 2020 |
> Moureau François. Joscelyn Godwin : L'Ésotérisme musical en France, 1750-1950, 1991 (Coll. «Bibliothèque de l'Hermétisme».).
In: Dix-huitième Siècle, n°24, 1992. Le matérialisme des Lumières. p. 591. … ; (en ligne),
URL : https://www.persee.fr/doc/dhs_0070-6760_1992_num_24_1_1895_t1_0591_0000_2

> L'ÉSOTÉRISME MUSICAL EN FRANCE 1750-1950, de Joscelyn Godwin. — Les ouvrages consacrés à l’ésotérisme musical, sont trop rares… Celui de Joscelyn Godwin comble donc une importante lacune avec l’avantage de donner tout l’ensemble des recherches effectuées en France au cours des deux siècles les plus riches en oeuvres et en spéculations musicales. Du théosophe Saint Martin au génial et trop peu connu Favre d’Olivet, en passant par le philosophe Charles Fourier et le mathématicien Hoené Wronski… l’auteur apporte une claire et solide contribution (fort bien documentée) à l’approche “savante” de la musique ; il nous aide à comprendre l’importance de l’ésotérisme musical dans notre culture occidentale, et offre virtuellement des jalons à une investigation spirituelle de la musique dont il nous reste aujourd’hui à redécouvrir les bases. Ed. Albin Michel, Bibliothèque de l'Hermétisme, 1991 - 270 p.
3e millénaire, (22), Hiver 1991
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Joop-le-philosophe | Feb 23, 2019 |

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