Thu Dec 8, 2005

From Roger Luckhurst’s The Invention of Telepathy:

William Stead and Cecil Rhodes plotted a secret society throughout the 1890s that would use Rhodes’ diamond wealth to foster the idea of a worldwide Anglo-Saxon confederation (124)


Stead, who agitated against Parnell (128), seems to have had an interesting career. I look forward to reading his The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes to learn more about this. Conan Doyle published in 1926, a magic year, a two-volume History of Spiritualism. I would have liked to have seen more discussion of the growth of statistical science and telepathy, a subject treated admirably by Ian Hacking in an article available via my citeulike list in Luckhurst’s book; but it was a consistently interesting read. Did you know that Peirce had special interest in the “insight of females” (72)? And “odalic” is used more times than you’re probably accustomed to. Also, James Strachey came to Freud via a footnote of F. W. H. Myers’.

The answer to the question, by the way, is Wilhelm Steckel’s Auto-Erotism: A Psychiatric Study of the Onanism and Neurosis (Trans. James S. Van Teslaar. New York: Grove, 1950). Steckel also uses “puella publica,” both singular and plural.

Today’s Thorndike tidbit: “Plotinus was aware of the sidereal enchantments of Olympius against him” (Porphyry Vita Plotini, cap. 10; V. 1, 300). “Sidereal enchantments” reminded me of Lem’s Fiasco, a great and underappreciated book about which I’d like to write an article.

Thanks to Clancy, I’ve been intermittently reading Wunsch’s Sethianische Verfluchtungstafeln aus Rom (which if you’ll google, you’ll note that there’s apparently something called the International Sethian Movement). One of the defixiones is famously thought to be the earliest pictorial representation of the crucifixion, but it might just also be some cynocephalic joke.

Lacan’s “Excommunication” from The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis quotes Picasso’s “I do not seek; I find” (7). I just thought you might like to know in case you’re looking at this (and, re Lacan, cf. here).

I’ve been involved in an exchange with Steve Fuller at The Valve and at Michael Berube’s (“formidable!”). Though I disagree very strongly with Fuller about this, I appreciate that he has posted the lengthy comments he has.

Finally, for now, yes, you are branded (with Meg Norcia enthusiasm!) heretical. Remember, he wasn’t yet twenty-five when he wrote most of those stories.