Tag Archives: Robert E Cousins

Elizabethan Magic

Randall Boywer reviews Elizabethan Magic: The Art and The Magus by Robert Turner with Patricia Shore Turner and Robert E Cousins in the Bkwyrm archive.

About two-thirds of the book is devoted to Dee, Kelly, and things Enochian, with a good mix of historical background and actual Enochian Magical Stuff. Unfortunately, though, Turner follows the tradition of writers on Enochian magic: after mocking other writers on the subject and implying that he’s the only one who’s ever had an inkling about Enochian, he presents a text marred by simple errors of fact (e.g., on p. 17 two important dates are off by thirty years) and internal contradictions (e.g. on p. 4 he states emphatically that Liber Logaeth “contains not a vestige of text,” while on p. 22 he describes the contents of that text!). His work looks fairly sound overall, but such howlers make it impossible to trust him completely. One might adapt one of Turner’s own opprobria by suggesting that he displays the A.E. Waite brushmarks only too well.

The remainder of the book briefly discusses four other Elizabethan Mages, of whom one (Robert Turner, no relation, it seems, to the modern R.T.) was born some fifteen years after the death of Elizabeth I, and another (Thomas Jones) is considered a mage just because he was a cousin of Dr. Dee. The chapter on Turner is very interesting despite the anachronism, but that on Jones appears to be mere “filler.” The chapter on Robert Fludd is annoyingly brief, and barely mentions Fludd’s major works. I was delighted to read about the adventures of Simon Forman, a necromancer who amassed a considerable fortune as well as a considerable number of mistresses: he provides a refreshing contrast to pure-and-holy types like Fludd and the younger Turner.

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