It’s been a while since I updated this website so this post is highly overdue. One of the main reasons is that over the last few months I changed the direction of my thesis to reflect the content, rather than the history, of Péladan’s work more closely, and so have been working to that end.
Initially this thesis started out as an attempt to re-examine the life and work of Joséphin Péladan from the perspective of the History of Western Esotericism, and to place it firmly within that context. However, I elected to change focus for a number of reasons, not least because a rigidly historical approach did not allow for the exploration of the esoteric, philosophical, and literary themes within Péladan’s work. Secondly, with the previous approach, the bulk of the thesis would have involved writing ‘around’ Péladan so as to situate him within the set of historical currents informing his work, leaving only one chapter in which to cover his actual writings, and so, after a year and a half of research, it has become clear that there are motifs and characteristics embedded in his work which deserve further emphasis, as they reveal the actual significance and character of the work itself. The most significant of these appears to be the notion of mythic history and mythopoeia as the core motive force of both his life and his work.
Therefore, as opposed to a chronology of esoteric thought focused around Péladan, which might have been of interest as a microhistory but would tell us little about the man and his work, the revised thesis focuses on mythic history in its capacity as a significant construct within esoteric thought, using Péladan’s life , work, and impact during the height of the Belle Epoque as a singular case study of the function of mythic history within his teachings.
The central purpose of the thesis is therefore, to explore Péladan’s mythopoeia and underlying motifs, to demonstrate its capacity as a near-legendarium in its own right, and to place it within the broader intellectual and esoteric milieu of his time.
I have now completed a comprehensive introductory section functioning as an interdisciplinary theoretical framework for the thesis, in which I argue for the necessity of such an approach, while considering a number of factors relating to the philosophy of history and the role of mythic history, especially in relation to Western Esotericism and the Illuminist current in general, Péladan’s work in particular.
From now on I will be making an effort to update more regularly since I set up this website as a PhD diary to help me keep track of various interesting insights, as well as to connect with other admirers of Péladan – and I am glad to say that the latter goal is already beginning to bear fruit.