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Masks of the Illuminati de Robert Anton…
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Masks of the Illuminati (original: 1981; edição: 1981)

de Robert Anton Wilson

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745423,135 (3.86)23
This American underground classic is a rollicking cosmic mystery featuring Albert Einstein and James Joyce as the ultimate space/time detectives. One fateful evening in a suitably dark, beer-soaked Swiss rathskeller, a wild and obscure Irishman named James Joyce would become the drinking partner of an unknown physics professor called Albert Einstein. And on that same momentous night, Sir John Babcock, a terror-stricken young Englishman, would rush through the tavern door bringing a mystery that only the two most brilliant minds of the century could solve . . . or perhaps bringing only a figment of his imagination born of the paranoia of our times. An outrageous, raunchy ride through the twists and turns of mind and space, Masks of the Illuminati runs amok with all our fondest conspiracy theories to show us the truth behind the laughter . . . and the laughter in the truth. Praise for Masks of the Illuminati "I was astonished and delighted . . . Robert Anton Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity."--Philip K. Dick "[Wilson is] erudite, witty, and genuinely scary."--Publishers Weekly   "A dazzling barker hawking tickets to the most thrilling tilt-a-whirls and daring loop-o-planes on the midway to a higher consciousness."--Tom Robbins "Wilson is one of the most profound, important, scientific philosophers of this century--scholarly, witty, hip, and hopeful."--Timothy Leary… (mais)
Membro:MrGreenshirt
Título:Masks of the Illuminati
Autores:Robert Anton Wilson
Informação:New York : Pocket Books, 1981.
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Masks of the Illuminati de Robert Anton Wilson (1981)

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Exibindo 4 de 4
Sir John Babcock attempts to penetrate the world of the Illuminati. Features James Joyce (and Wakean prose) as well as Albert Einstein and Alastair Crowley.
  RustlingsTim | Feb 19, 2016 |
Masks of the Illuminati reads like a dark smart mystery -- a mystery penned by the combined and competing voices of James Joyce, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, and perhaps, somehow narrated by (maybe astral projected by), above and beyond and throughout the sleuthing dueling clamor of its voices, the likes of a Tom Robbins. Which is to say the novel is zany and brainy.

That Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) could make so many disparate historical icons sound humorously real on the page is mystifying. Did he journey back in time and tape record them? That he could accomplish such a chameleon's feat without sinking toward what could've been easy-cheesy parody for writers gifted with lesser wit and talent than he, is a minor miracle. That he could meld so many writer's voices, styles, syntax, biographies, world views (whether faux or fact) and have enough creative chutzpah left to make the farfetched narrative, in its entirety, coalesce into a plot that's wild yet cogent, always compelling, tells me he could've conceptualized launching a land rover to Mars and then nailed its impossible landing. With his eyes closed. He's that good. The ferocity of RAWs imagination is matched only by its enormity. He takes complex ideas and compacts them into memorably whimsical truisms, such as "The Clue of the Quadrilateral Metaphor". Don't expect me to explain it. Would take too long. And while I'm no freemason myself (though if I was I'd confess I wasn't), whether or not RAW invented such opaque phraseology as that quoted above, or confabulated it, perhaps borrowed it verbatim from some cabalistic creed, I certainly can't tell. Not that my ignorance matters amongst such potential world-takeover-intrigue. Does anyone fully fathom the intentional obfuscation Umberto Eco encrypted within the first 100 pages of The Name of the Rose?

Regardless of any conspiracies, real or imagined, within or without the text of this ambitious novel, Masks of the Illuminati possesses that tastefully twisted, almost absurdly baroque ambiance about it, I so admire in freakish novels, in books that steadfastly refuse being altered in order to more easily fit inside some stock genre trope's predictable molds. Masks of the Illuminati isn't baroque due to some contrived technical gimmicks or preciously ornate structure to the novel, but because of its technical and ornate details regarding the occult; because of its massive and elaborate manner of communicating its esoteric systems of learning concisely, in clear and what seems like geometric harmony.

Envision that ancient merry prankster, Rabelais himself, having authored The Secret Teachings of All Ages, rather than the dry but ultra erudite, Manly P. Hall -- could serve as my nutshell review of Masks of the Illuminati. Though it would've been a less crass Rabelais, devoid of some, but not all, of his signature scatology ad nauseam, and you're getting a closer approximation, somewhat, of both Masks of the Illuminati's style and content. But don't think for a second by "less crass" that I mean Masks of the Illuminati isn't ribald and erotic -- for it assuredly is -- it just doesn't go over the top with it or experiment with language to quite the extremely opulent degree as Rabelais. But it's as comic, as Monty Pythonesque in its abundant and solemn tomfoolery. Conversely, it's as flip with the gravitas it gives its philosophical, psychological, and metaphysical foundation -- its idées fixes -- as it is with its compendium of arcana that anchors the vaulted mysticism hovering inside it; inside what RAW referred to as a "Dark Tower" or "Chapel Perilous." Paradox might as well be the exposed arches supporting the hilarious yet serious heights of this outstanding oddity of peculiar prose.

Despite its sometimes silliness, its deadpan self deprecation, the novel still retains enough of a subversive yet scholarly acumen concerning its paranormal precepts to make a Fox Mulder proud! Fans of Arthur Machen, Willy's Blake, Shakespeare, and Yeats, and particularly Aleister Crowley, should enjoy reading some delicious and decidedly occult takes on the lives of these writers and their works. Important to note, too, is that RAWs strange universe is populated mostly by mystic practitioners who prefer what's vague to what's concrete, which means readers seeking RAWs opinion or personal definition of whatever "occult canonicity" might mean, won't find any such orthodoxy here. For the heart and home of RAWs Illuminati; the pulsating abode for those few intrepid initiates on the painstakingly narrow path leading to "enlightenment" (a narrow path indeed, requiring two years of celibacy, including celibacy while in solitude!); that narrow path for those, moreover, who've willingly concealed their membership from every other member of their order so that they all remain essentially "invisible" to one another, camouflaged behind the "blindness" of their figurative "masks," beats to its own relative rhythms within the confines of each individual's personalized gnosticism.

Abandoning themselves behind their "masks," RAWs gnostics have removed their condescending pride (i.e., their "transcendental egotism") from their minds as if it were a parasite; the damnable parasite of self delusional pride, exemplified by the divisive and derogatory attitude that can childishly boast, "my Illumination is higher than your Illumination," so nanner-nanner. What sickening spiritual hubris! Left unchecked, that false sense of superiority in the novice makes him promptly powerless and unenlightened, thoroughly indistinguishable, for that matter, from the repugnant belligerent blathering of an unteachable and fanatic denominationalist bore. RAWs characters wear an interesting multitude of "masks" to say the least. We all wear masks, of course, but not masks like these.

Add magick, "constant suicides," and even that legendary, aquatic brontosaurus-like beast haunting Loch Ness to this surprisingly literary mix, and you've almost grasped what Masks of the Illuminati is. It's high-caliber literature for sure; a multiple-genre-bending Anomaly of Awesomeness to its convoluted core! Vainglorious marvel of a novel as treacherous to precisely peg as the elusive identities of its myriad denizens with their incantatory visions inspired by the secret society it depicts. Who can foil the cosmic conspiracy of an ancient order whose long lineage of mysterious membership can hide in a plain sight that's synonymous with invisibility? Could Sir John Babcock, our haunted, possibly hallucinating hero, be the right man...? ( )
15 vote absurdeist | Aug 12, 2012 |
A good Chestertonian mystery spoiled by Joycean logorrhea. ( )
  szarka | Jul 30, 2011 |
Poor Wilson cashed it in and never got the sort of recognition he deserved. Probably because of all that spooky Illuminati nonsense. That was not what the man was all about. ( )
7 vote Porius | Oct 17, 2009 |
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This American underground classic is a rollicking cosmic mystery featuring Albert Einstein and James Joyce as the ultimate space/time detectives. One fateful evening in a suitably dark, beer-soaked Swiss rathskeller, a wild and obscure Irishman named James Joyce would become the drinking partner of an unknown physics professor called Albert Einstein. And on that same momentous night, Sir John Babcock, a terror-stricken young Englishman, would rush through the tavern door bringing a mystery that only the two most brilliant minds of the century could solve . . . or perhaps bringing only a figment of his imagination born of the paranoia of our times. An outrageous, raunchy ride through the twists and turns of mind and space, Masks of the Illuminati runs amok with all our fondest conspiracy theories to show us the truth behind the laughter . . . and the laughter in the truth. Praise for Masks of the Illuminati "I was astonished and delighted . . . Robert Anton Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity."--Philip K. Dick "[Wilson is] erudite, witty, and genuinely scary."--Publishers Weekly   "A dazzling barker hawking tickets to the most thrilling tilt-a-whirls and daring loop-o-planes on the midway to a higher consciousness."--Tom Robbins "Wilson is one of the most profound, important, scientific philosophers of this century--scholarly, witty, hip, and hopeful."--Timothy Leary

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