Tag Archives: wastrel

Do What Thou Wilt

Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin, the 7th printing of the 2002 paperback from St Martin’s Griffin, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Lawrence Sutin's Do What Thou Wilt biography of Aleister Crowley

“Born 1875m Aleister Crowley reached maturity in the boarding schools and brothels of Victorian England. The aspiring poet and pampered wastrel quickly gravitated toward the occult. Obsessed with reconciling his quest for spiritual perfection with his secular hedonism—Crowley developed his own school of mysticism. Devotees of Magick, as Crowley called it, embraced the imagination and glorified the will. In practice, Crowley explored his spiritual yearnings through drug-saturated vision quests and rampant sexual adventurism, but at other times he embraced Eastern philosophies and sought enlightenment on ascetic sojourns into the wilderness.

This controversial individual has inspired passioate—and seldom fair—assessments from historians. Sutin’s excellent biography treats Crowley as a cultural phenomenon, and not simply as a sorcerer or charlatan. Do What Thou Wilt is a fascinating, eve-handed study of how one man devoted his life to the subversion of the dominant moral and religious values of his time.”


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