Essay on the Extraordinary Revival of English Magic, &c

From The Library at Hurtfew
Jump to: navigation, search
The Essay on the Extraordinary Revival of English Magic, &c. was written by John Waterbury, Lord Portishead, in 1814. Portishead was a theoretical magician and, at the time, a strong proponent of Gilbert Norrell's perspective on magic. Norrell naturally praised the book as "an excellent little work", for it faithfully echoed his own views; while Jonathan Strange commented with some irony that "he has certainly done everything we asked. Two long chapters attacking the Raven King and scarcely a mention of fairies at all" [37].

However, two months later in January 1815, Strange published a review of the book in The Edinburgh Review that expressing the opinion that Portishead's entire essay purposefully suppressed all mention of the Raven King to support Norrell's philosophy, which Strange then went on to attack vehemently. In fact, his review was chiefly a severe critique of the Norrellite view of magic, and Portishead's Essay is used only as convenient vessel for the attack [37][38]. Nevertheless, regardless of the actual influence of the Essay, Strange's review of it was a key component in the quarrel that resulted in the ending of his pupilage under Norrell and the subsequent breach between the two men[39].

The phrase "Revival of English Magic" is perhaps taken from the title of Lord Portishead's book.