Talk by Phil Baker.
Dennis Wheatley virtually invented the popular image of black magic in 20th century Britain, and he made it all seem strangely seductive. From the thirties to the seventies, his best-selling books presented generations of adolescents with a luxurious vision of the occult that involved pentagrams in country house libraries and virgins lying on top of altars. No wonder many occultists began by reading Wheatley, although they might not always admit it. Author of a major critical biography, The Devil Is A Gentleman, Phil Baker will discuss Wheatley's impact on the idea of the occult in popular culture, the esoteric lore in his books, and the perennial question of how much he really knew. He'll also say something about Wheatley's interest in manipulating the minds of his readers, and probably indulge in some 1970s nostalgia.