Devil Worship in France - A.E. Waite - 1st Edition 1896

Devil Worship in France - A.E. Waite - 1st Edition 1896


Devil Worship in France; Or the Question of Lucifer
By Waite, A.E.

Published by George Redway | 1896 First Edition

The covers have some wear as illustrated in the photos, most noticeably some wear to the extremities of the spine, some small spots of bubbling to the fabric and bumped corners. The covers are a uniform black, it was just hard to get clear photos of them. There are some minor internal cracks to the binding, but the binding is still solid. There is an inked inscription on the first title page stating "With the Publishers Compliments," as well as couple of penciled notations on one of the back blank pages. There is also some lightly penciled bracketing in the margin by the text on most of the pages, but as the photos illustrate, it isn't very obtrusive and doesn't detract too much from the aesthetics of the book. Besides that, the pages are mostly clean with just a little bit of occasional light foxing and some mild chipping to page edges, though there might be the occasional page with some other minor imperfection such as a minor stain, small chip or tear, creased page corner or slight wrinkle. All in all a really great and rare old book on Devil worship and Freemasonry.

This book is Waite's attempt to debunk the myth of a correlation between Satanic worship and Masonic ritual.

In spite of the sensational title, this book is actually a debunking of a notorious late 19th century hoax. Leo Taxil, a French anti-clericalist, suddenly converted to Catholicism in the 1885 and wrote a number of books in which he claimed that Freemasonry was a world-wide satanic conspiracy. Taxil started an anti-Masonic newspaper. In 1887 Taxil even had an audience with Pope Leo XIII, who subsequently sanctioned his anti-Masonic campaign.

Waite systematically debunks Taxil in this book, citing factual inaccuracies, plagarism, and sheer absurdities. Waite is in top form here, witty, sarcastic, and utilizing extensive firsthand knowledge of Victorian mystical and masonic groups to demolish Taxil. Of interest is Chapter VII, wherein Waite gives a detailed summary of Taxil's pulp-fiction narrative, which has never been translated into English. It is amazing that anyone would take this yarn seriously, then or now.

In 1897, the year after Waite published this book, Taxil announced at a press conference that his conversion was a fraud, the books he had written were complete fabrications, and that he had published them to embarrass the Catholic church. His motive for targeting the Freemasons was because they had rejected his application to join them. Diana Vaughan, the central character in his book The Devil in the Nineteenth Century, was also fiction--Diana Vaughan was the name of one of his typists.

This is the meme that refuses to die. Both Taxil and Waite have been quoted out of context numerous times by anti-Freemasons, conspiracy theorists and the simply paranoid to underpin their beliefs that Lucifer is secretly worshiped by Masons. It is crucial that anyone investigating the issue (such as it is) read this book in its entirety in order to get perspective.

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