First published in 1990, this book represents the first full-length study of into the group of novels designated ‘Rosicrucian’ and traces the emergence of this distinct fictional genre, revealing a continuous occult tradition running through seemingly diverse literary texts. Taking the Enlightenment as a starting point, the author shows how the physician’s secular appropriation of the idea of eternal life, through the study of longevity and physical decay, attracted writers like William Godwin. It focuses on the bodily immortality of the Rosicrucian hero and investigates the novels of five major writers — Godwin, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Maturin, and Bulwer-Lytton.
Table of Contents
List of plates; Acknowledgements; 1. The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross 2. William Godwin’s Darkness of Enlightenment 3. Percy Bysshe Shelley: A Gothic Immortal 4. Mary Shelley and the Mortal Immortal 5. Maturin and the Rosicrucian Heresy 6. Bulwer-Lytton and the Rose and Cross 7. The Problem of Immortality; Appendix: Sadak The Wanderer; Bibliography; Index