This morning, in a mood for Lovecraft, I reread “The Dunwich Horror”, inspired by seeing the post of the Dean-Stockwell-as-Wilbur film version of the story a bit ago. Running across the many and various grimoire and other esoteric text references in that work, I had a passing idea to add a new twist to my All Hallows Read experience by thinking I might do a reading list of “Grimoires (which I own) mentioned in Lovecraft” or something like that. Going over the list in my head, I thought it might be doable, and rereading most of them would do no harm (what sanity’s left to lose at this point, right?), so it was (nearly) decided.
Luckily, I browsed my Tumblr feed before committing myself to such a course! Seeing Ms Jonusas‘s reference to Charles Dexter Ward, I realized I hadn’t nearly enough time left to do the whole list. Why? Dear old HPL in “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” had to go and mention the Zohar! Ach. It’s not that I don’t have the Zohar, but rather that I’ve an overabundance of it. In the photo above, just a bit of the kabbalah section of my library, you’ll see the 12 volumes of Matt’s recently completed English translation, the “Pritzker Zohar” put out by Stanford University Press from 2003 to this year; that’s about 7,800 pages of nearly fine print. Next to it, the Hebrew edition with commentary spans 24 volumes—I don’t recall the page count on that one offhand, but it’s… substantial (I’d estimate between 8,500 and 9k pages). While not visible on the shelf, I’ve also the Aramaic critical edition, but it’s just a bound print-out of the PDF release by Stanford to accompany the Pritzker; even so, it’s 2,478 pages of difficult Aramaic. I’ve read the three editions, but to reread them all before the end of All Hallows Read? Not going to happen. Or, to put that in a more contextually appropriate way: לא היום, שטן
(Just for reference, the rest of that shelf, between the end of the Hebrew edition and the violin: Rabbi Kaplan’s Meditation and the Kabbalah and his editions of the books Yetzirah and Bahir; Idel and Dan’s collection The Early Kabbalah; Rabbi Cordovero’s ‘Or Ne`erav; a bilingual Latin and English edition of Reuchlin’s de Arte Cabalistica; Rabbi Gikatilla’s Sha`are ‘Orah; one of Idel’s studies on Abulafia, Studies in Ecstatic Kabbalah; and Matt’s collection of short form kabbalistic works, The Essential Kabbalah.)
So, for now, it’s back to the horror stories.