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From Rabelais and John Dee to Anton LaVey and Timothy Leary
Geoffrey Ashe

Mention the Hell-Fire Clubs and you conjure up an image of aristocratic rakes cutting a swath through the village maidens. Which is true, but not the whole truth. The activities of these clubs of upper-class Englishmen revolved around not only debauchery, but, also, blasphemy, ritual, quasi-magical pursuits and political intrigue. Providing a history of these infamous clubs, Geoffrey Ashe reveals their origins in the work of François Rabelais and the activities of John Dee. He shows how the Hell-Fire Clubs' anything-goes philosophy of “Do what you will” - also Aleister Crowley's famous motto - and community template were drawn directly from Rabelais. The author looks at the very first Hell-Fire Club, founded by Philip, Duke of Wharton, in 1720 and then at the Society of the Dilettanti, a fraternity formed in 1732. As he examines the life, travels and influences of Sir Francis Dashwood, founding member of the Society of the Dilettanti and the scandalous Permissive Society at Medmenham, also known as the Monks of Medmenham. He, also, explores other Hell-Fire clubs - the movement inspired throughout England, Scotland and Ireland, including the violence-prone Mohocks and the Appalling Club. He shows how many illustrious figures of the day were members of these societies, such as Lord Byron. He, also, examines the rumours that Benjamin Franklin was a member, an allegation that can be neither confirmed nor denied. Exploring the political and magical ideas that fuelled this movement, the author shows how the cross-fertilisation of liberty and libertinage within the Hell-Fire Clubs went on to influence both the U.S. and French revolutions, as well as the hippie movement of the 1960s, the Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey and the motorcycle club known as the Hell's Angels. The legacy of the Hell-Fire Clubs continues to have an impact pn society, beckoning both the elite and outsiders to cast aside social norms and “do what you will.”

More Information
  • Published : 31/10/2019
  • ISBN : 9781591433484
  • Format : Paperback
  • Imprint : Bear & Company
  • Size (mm): 153 x 229
  • Category: Occult
  • Pages : 304
  • Edition : New Edition of The Hell-Fire Clubs
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