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Library of the Masters


112 pages, black and white diagrams, published by Samuel Weiser, inc., First edition 1995.

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was uniquely qualified to produce a translation of of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching. He was called the finest English metrical poet of his generation by some of his contemporaries, and his work is anthologized in the Oxford Book of Mystical Verse. He was also a profound and experienced magician, mystic, and philosopher, trained in western esotericism, Hermeticism, the Qabalah and more traditional western philosophy, but with a deep and abiding interest in the ancient philosophies of the Orient. Crowley traveled widely in the East, and he actually walked across southern China in 1906. His first-hand experience of the Orient made him one of the first students in the West to grasp oriental philosophy on its own terms, without a Eurocentric or Judeo-Christian cultural bias. The Chinese scholar Hellmut Wilhelm acknowledged the primacy of Crowley's work in Taoist studies, Crowley had no Chinese, and his translation is that of a poet interpreting the dry and scholastic translation of James Legge, as Ezra Pound would later do with the Confucian Analects. He contributes an autobiographical and critical introduction that discusses his religious philosophy and his lifelong attraction to Taoism, and his extensive notes and commentary to his translation help to amplify the meaning of the Chinese classic. This edition includes Crowley's verse translation of the Ch'ing-ching Ching (Liber XXI, The Classic of Purity) as an appendix. This edition includes an editorial foreword by Hymenaeus Beta, Frater Superior of O.T.O, as well as a bibliography and index.

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