Ægypt  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ægypt is a sequence of four novels by John Crowley detailing the work and life of Pierce Moffett, who prepares a manuscript for publication even as it prepares him for some as-yet unknown destiny, all set amidst strange and subtle Hermetic manipulations among the Faraway Hills at the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania border:

Title Year Notes
The Solitudes 1987 Originally published in 1987 as Ægypt, despite Crowley's objections. Revised 2007.
World Fantasy Award nominee, 1988; Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 1988
Love & Sleep 1994 World Fantasy Award nominee, 1995
Dæmonomania 2000
Endless Things 2007 Locus Fantasy Award nominee, 2008

The four volumes mingle Moffett's real and dream life in America in 1977 (and, in an extended coda, into the early 1980s) with the narrative of the manuscript he is preparing for publication. The manuscript, left unfinished by its author Fellowes Kraft, is an historical fiction that follows the briefly intersecting adventures of Italian heretic Giordano Bruno and of British occultists John Dee and Edward Kelley.

Moffett is trained as a historian, and is under contract to write a popular history covering hermetical themes. Early in the process, he conceives of writing a novel which, it is clear, would be Ægypt; his ruminations on that novel describe the structure of the novel he is in.

The larger novel contains sections from Kraft's other, published, historical novels about Bruno and his contemporaries, John Dee and William Shakespeare, and also from the unfinished manuscript, which might also be called Ægypt.

The titles of the first three volumes in the sequence are tributes to Renaissance literary works; and in many cases the nature of these works redound on the action of these three novels themselves:

The title of the fourth volume repeats a complaining phrase often spoken by the author of the manuscript that Moffett prepares for publication. It probably alludes to the title and subject matter of Giordano Bruno's De innumerabilibus, immenso et infigurabili ("Of innumerable things, vastness and the unrepresentable").

The sequence is organized around the 12 astrological houses, with each book divided into three parts, each bearing a Latin name of the corresponding house. The Solitudes' parts, for example, are called "Vita", "Lucrum" and "Fratres", the Latin names for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd houses. [1] The content of each part bears some relationship to the traditional associations of the house in question. The four volumes themselves correspond to the four seasons, starting with spring and ending in winter.

Harold Bloom has praised the first three books in the sequence, installing the first two in his 1993 list of the Western canon. Michael Dirda, asked in 2007 what his favorite recent book was, named "the four-part sequence by John Crowley called 'Aegypt.'"





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ægypt" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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