Le Matin des Magiciens
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Le Matin des magiciens was a book written by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in 1960 or in October 1959. It was first published in English in 1963 with the title The Morning of the Magicians. A German edition was published with the title Aufbruch ins dritte Jahrtausend (Departure into the third Millennium).
The book was a general overview of the occult and the works of Charles Fort. Le Matin des magiciens was highly influential in the way it presented occult subjects to a populist audience and spawned many books imitating its style.
The English edition, The Morning of the Magicians, became an international best seller, with over 800,000 copies sold worldwide. The book was a collaboration of ideas spanning a wide variety of subjects from Nazi occultism to supernatural phenomena and the place of mankind in the universe relative to traditional philosophical positions.
It also temporarily renewed interest in the works of Arthur Machen.
The first part of the preface is a refutation of the notion of social and historical progress, hold in the form of an autobiographical essay by Louis Pauwels. His father belonged to the generation of romantic socialists, whose idols were Victor Hugo, Romain Rolland and Jean Jaurès. Pauwels expressed his disdain of that generation's notion of progress by referring to a quote from Où va le monde?' the French translation of a work by Walther Rathenau, whom he describes as the first victim of the Nazis.
The authors consider different theories about lucidity and achivement of maximal mental potential, particularly through the work of G. I. Gurdjieff. According to the book, many cultural breakthroughs could be made through a change in spititual and intellectual awareness, obtained by a work similar to that of medieval alchemists: a middle ground between science and oscurantism.
In 1954 Bergier met Louis Pauwels, a writer and editor, in Paris. They would later collaborate on the book, Les Matin des Magiciens (Morning of the Magicians) which was published in France in 1960. This book takes the reader on a neo-surrealistic tour of modern European history focusing on the purported influence of the occult and secret societies on politics. It also attempts to connect alchemy with nuclear physics, hinting that early alchemists understood more about the actual function of atoms than they are credited. 'The Morning of the Magicians'was very popular with the youth culture in France through the 1960s and 1970s. It was translated into English by Rollo May in 1963 under the title Dawn of Magic. It first appeared in the USA in paperback form in 1968 as The Morning of the Magicians. This book spawned an entire genre of explorations into many of the ideas it raised, such as connections between Nazism and the occult.
This book has become a "cult classic" -- pun intended. It is often referenced by conspiracy theory enthusiasts and those interested in ideas of "forbidden history" and occult studies. The question remains: how much "inside knowledge" did Pauwels and Bergier really have, or how much of their thesis was merely imaginative invention? Either way, their "Magical Mystery Tour" of the dialectic between materialism and metaphysics continues to influence researchers in this field today.
Pauwels and Bergier collaborated on two later books of essays, Impossible Possibilites and The Eternal Man. They also co-produced a journal called Planète which explored esoteric ideas. Bergier was interested in the possiblities of extra-terrestrial life and explored reported sightings of UFOs.