John Dee * Gerard Suster (2003)

The second book in the Western Esoteric Masters series that I review is about John Dee (1527-1608), well known to you if you have followed my website for some years. However I have quite some material of Dee myself, this book by Suster is the thinnest volume of the series. There are only about 100 pages with texts of Dee and Suster put a lot of his own commentary through the texts. Suster wanted to give a good overview about the whole figure of Dee, so the texts not only include small parts of Dee’s massive writings, but also parts of Dee’s diaries, including his personal ones. This makes that Suster’s book more gives an historical view of Dee than that the reader learns a lot about Dee’s ideas. What you can read are parts of Dee which are less well-known and/or not often available not as commentary of another writer: his preface to Euclid, Propaedeumata Aphoristica (an astronomical/astrological text) and his writings on navigation. Besides this, letters, the (spiritual) diaries and of course the Monas Hieroglyphica inspite that being but a short text, only in part. However gives a full-round view of Dee, Suster is genuinely interested in Dee’s best-known and darker side, so much even that the last part of the book gives other people’s ideas of John Dee and information about Aleister Crowley (including two texts of him!), the Golden Dawn and their use of Enochian magic. If I would have made the selection, I think I would have come to another one. If you have an historical interest in Dee, this is a nice addition to what is already available. Personally I hoped to read more of Dee’s “western esoteric” ideas.
2003 North Atlantic Books, isbn 1556434723

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