The apparent intention of this book is to show that the Prince of Wales has a coherent and consistent philosophy that underpins his various endeavours. What emerges is really a mish-mash of clap-trap about the ‘sacred’ and ‘materialism’, which the author then submerges in yet more twaddle about "well- attested phenomena" such as ESP, and rants against the "either/ or" nature of Western thought, illustrated by neat either/ or columns of atomism versus holism, or machine versus ‘wheel of life’. It does a great disservice to organisations like the Prince’s Trust to be associated with such pernicious baloney.
• Also try: Anthony Holden, Prince Charles
THE DEDALUS BOOK OF THE OCCULT
Gary Lachman, ed
From the Enlightenment to Modernism, ideas of the occult have shadowed literary culture, and Lachman’s generous primer introduces the main exponents of diverse traditions alongside their more respectable contemporaries. The material on characters like Le Comte de St Germain and PD Ouspensky is much more interesting than the sketches of Goethe and Balzac: sometimes it feels as if the author is contorting the classics to fit his gothic paradigm. Nonetheless, there are sufficient curiosities to offset the occasional overstatement.
• Also try: Richard Kaczynski, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
DUNDEE’S LITERARY LIVES
Andrew Murray Scott
Abertay Historical Society, 8.99
Dundee, as many Dundonians will tell you, is Scotland’s Second City of Literature, and in this survey of the 20th century, Andrew Murray Scott resurrects some genuinely interesting populist writers as well as nodding at AL Kennedy and WN Herbert (in addition to providing a large puff for his own work). Although this is a small press production, more care should have been taken over the editing: the text is littered with distracting typos. "The Palace of Scottish Blackguardism", as Lord Cockburn called Dundee, has a thriving literary culture, after all.
• Also try: Bill Duncan, The Smiling School For Calvinists