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Portrait by Allan Warren, 1975
|Born||Dennis Yeats Wheatley|
8 January 1897
|Died||10 November 1977 80)(aged|
|Genre||Adventure, occult, and historical fiction|
|Notable works||The Devil Rides Out|
Dennis Yeats Wheatley (8 January 1897 – 10 November 1977) was an English writer whose prolific output of thrillers and occult novels made him one of the world's best-selling authors from the 1930s through the 1960s. His Gregory Sallust series was one of the main inspirations for Ian Fleming's James Bond stories.
Thriller is a broad genre of literature, film and television, having numerous, often overlapping subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the moods they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety. Successful examples of thrillers are the films of Alfred Hitchcock.
The occult is "knowledge of the hidden" or "knowledge of the paranormal", as opposed to facts and "knowledge of the measurable", usually referred to as science. The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that "is meant only for certain people" or that "must be kept hidden", but for most practicing occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends pure reason and the physical sciences. The terms esoteric and arcane can also be used to describe the occult, in addition to their meanings unrelated to the supernatural.
Ian Lancaster Fleming was an English author, journalist and naval intelligence officer who is best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst and, briefly, the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through several jobs before he started writing.
Wheatley was born in South London to Albert David and Florence Elizabeth Harriet (Baker) Wheatley. He was the eldest of three children in the family, which owned Wheatley & Son of Mayfair, a wine business. He admitted to having little aptitude for schooling and was later expelled from Dulwich College for allegedly forming a "secret society" (as he mentions in his introduction to The Devil Rides Out ).
South London is the southern part of London, England. Situated south of the River Thames, it includes the historic districts of Southwark, Lambeth, Bankside and Greenwich.
Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster, between Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane. It is one of the most expensive districts in London and the world.
Dulwich College is a 2–19 independent, boarding school for boys in Dulwich, London, England. It was founded in 1619 by Edward Alleyn, an Elizabethan actor, with the original purpose of educating 12 poor scholars as the foundation of 'God's Gift'. Admission by examination is mainly into years 3, 7, 9, and 12 to the Junior, Lower, Middle and Upper Schools into which the college is divided. It is a member of both the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group.
Soon after his expulsion Wheatley became a British Merchant Navy officer cadet on the training ship HMS Worcester.
The Thames Nautical Training College, as it is now called, was, for over a hundred years, situated aboard ships named HMS Worcester.
Wheatley was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the Royal Field Artillery during the First World War, receiving his basic training at Biscot Campin Luton. He was assigned to the City of London Brigade and the 36th (Ulster) Division. Wheatley was gassed in a chlorine attack during Passchendaele and was invalided out, having served in Flanders, on the Ypres Salient, and in France at Cambrai and St. Quentin.
The Royal Field Artillery (RFA) of the British Army provided close artillery support for the infantry. It came into being when created as a distinct arm of the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 1 July 1899, and was re-amalgamated back into the Regiment proper, along with the Royal Garrison Artillery, in 1924. The Royal Field Artillery was the largest arm of the artillery. It was responsible for the medium calibre guns and howitzers deployed close to the front line and was reasonably mobile. It was organised into brigades, attached to divisions or higher formations.
Luton is a large town, borough and unitary authority area of Bedfordshire, in the East of England. It has a population of 214,700 (mid-2017 est.) and is one of the most populous towns without city status in the United Kingdom. The town is situated on the River Lea, about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of London. Earliest settlements in the Luton area can be traced back over 250,000 years, but the town's foundation dates to the sixth century as a Saxon outpost on the River Lea, from which Luton derives its name. Luton is recorded in the Domesday Book as Loitone and Lintone and one of the largest churches in Bedfordshire, St Mary's Church, was built in the 12th century. There are local museums which explore Luton's history in Wardown Park and Stockwood Park.
The 36th (Ulster) Division was an infantry division of the British Army, part of Lord Kitchener's New Army, formed in September 1914. Originally called the Ulster Division, it was made up of mainly members of the Ulster Volunteer Force, who formed thirteen additional battalions for three existing regiments: the Royal Irish Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Rifles and the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. However, regular Officers and Soldiers and men from all around the United Kingdom made up the strength of the Division. The division served from October 1915 on Western Front as a formation of the British Army during the Great War.
In 1919 he took over management of the family's wine business. In 1931, however, after business had declined because of the Great Depression, he sold the firm and began writing.
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.
During the Second World War Wheatley was a member of the London Controlling Section, which secretly coordinated strategic military deception and cover plans. His literary talents led to his working with planning staffs for the War Office. He wrote numerous papers for them, including suggestions for dealing with a possible Nazi invasion of Britain (recounted in his works Stranger than Fiction and The Deception Planners). The most famous of his submissions to the Joint Planning Staff of the war cabinet was on "Total War". He received a direct commission in the JP Service as a Wing Commander, RAFVR, and took part in the plans for the Normandy invasions. After the war Wheatley was awarded the U.S. Bronze Star for his role in the war effort.
The London Controlling Section (LCS) was a secret department established in September 1941, under Oliver Stanley, with a mandate to coordinate Allied strategic military deception during World War II. The LCS was formed within the Joint Planning Staff at the offices of the War Cabinet, which was presided over by Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.
The Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) consists of a number of groupings of Royal Air Force reservists for the management and operation of the RAF's Volunteer Gliding Squadrons and Air Experience Flights of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets. It also forms the working elements of the University Air Squadrons and the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme. Unlike the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, the RAF Volunteer Reserve is not an active reserve from which members may be drawn to supplement the regular air force.
His first book, Three Inquisitive People, was not published when completed, but came out later, in 1940. However, his next novel made quite a splash. Called The Forbidden Territory , it was an immediate success when issued by Hutchinson in 1933, being reprinted seven times in seven weeks. After finishing The Fabulous Valley, Wheatley decided to use the theme of black magic for his next book. He wrote: "The fact that I had read extensively about ancient religions gave me some useful background, but I required up-to-date information about occult circles in this country. My friend, Tom Driberg, who then lived in a mews flat just behind us in Queen's Gate, proved most helpful. He introduced me to Aleister Crowley, the Reverend Montague Summers and Rollo Ahmed."The release the next year of his occult story, The Devil Rides Out —hailed by James Hilton as "the best thing of its kind since Dracula "—cemented his reputation as "The Prince of Thriller Writers."
Wheatley mainly wrote adventure novels, with many books in a series of linked works. Background themes included the French Revolution (the Roger Brook series), Satanism (the Duke de Richleau series), World War II (the Gregory Sallust series) and espionage (the Julian Day novels). Over time, each of his major series would include at least one book pitting the hero against some manifestation of the supernatural - making them into Fantasy and specifically Contemporary Fantasy. He came to be considered an authority on Satanism, the practice of exorcism, and black magic, toward all of which he expressed hostility. During his study of the paranormal, though, he joined the Ghost Club.
In many of his works, Wheatley wove in interactions between his characters and actual historical events and individuals. For example, in the Roger Brook series the main character involves himself with Napoleon and Joséphine whilst spying for Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. Similarly, in the Gregory Sallust series, Sallust shares an evening meal with Hermann Göring.
During the 1930s, Wheatley conceived a series of mysteries, presented as case files, including testimonies, letters, and pieces of evidence such as hairs or pills. The reader had to inspect this evidence to solve the mystery before unsealing the last pages of the file, which gave the answer. Four of these 'Crime Dossiers' were published: Murder Off Miami, Who Killed Robert Prentice?, The Malinsay Massacre, and Herewith The Clues!.
Wheatley also devised a number of board games including Invasion (1938),Blockade (1939), and Alibi (April 1953).
In the 1960s, Hutchinson was selling a million copies of his books per year, and most of his titles were kept available in hardcover. A few of his books were made into films by Hammer, of which the best known is The Devil Rides Out (book 1934, film 1968). Wheatley also wrote non-fiction works, including an account of the Russian Revolution, a life of King Charles II of England, and several autobiographical volumes.
He edited several collections of short stories, and from 1974 through 1977, he supervised a series of 45 paperback reprints for the British publisher Sphere with the heading "The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult", selecting the titles and writing short introductions for each book. These included both occult-themed novels by the likes of Bram Stoker and Aleister Crowley (with whom he once shared a lunch) and non-fiction works on magic, occultism, and divination by authors such as the Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky, the historian Maurice Magre, the magician Isaac Bonewits, and the palm-reader Cheiro.
Two weeks before his death in November 1977, Wheatley received conditional absolution from his old friend Cyril 'Bobby' Eastaugh, the Bishop of Peterborough. He was cremated at Tooting and his ashes interred at Brookwood Cemetery. He is commemorated on the Baker/Yeats family monument at West Norwood Cemetery.
His estate library was sold in a catalogue sale by Basil Blackwell's in 1979. It suggested a well-read individual with wide-ranging interests, particularly with respect to historical fiction and Europe.
His grandson Dominic Wheatley became one of the co-founders of the software house Domark, which published a number of titles in the 1980s and 1990s.
This section is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Wheatley's work reflects his conservative worldview. His protagonists are generally supporters of the monarchy, imperialism and the class system, and many of his villains are villainous because they attack these ideas. Wheatley was an opponent of Nazism and Communism, believing the latter to be controlled by Satanic power.
During the winter of 1947, Wheatley penned 'A Letter to Posterity' which he buried in an urn at his country home. The letter was intended to be discovered some time in the future (it was found in 1969 when the house was demolished for redevelopment of the property). In it, he predicted that the socialist reforms introduced by the post-war government would result inevitably in the abolition of the monarchy, the "pampering" of a "lazy" working class, and national bankruptcy. He advised both passive and active resistance to the resulting "tyranny," including "ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials."
Employers are now no longer allowed to run their businesses as they think best but have become the bond slaves of socialist state planning. The school leaving age has been put up to 16, and a 5 day working week has been instituted in the mines, the railways and many other industries. The doctrine of ensuring every child a good start in life and equal opportunities is fair and right, but the intelligent and the hardworking will always rise above the rest, and it is not a practical proposition that the few should be expected to devote their lives exclusively to making things easy for the majority. In time, such a system is bound to undermine the vigour of the race.
From 1972 to 1977 (the year of his death), 52 of Dennis Wheatley's novels were offered in a uniform hardcover set by Heron Books UK. (This was in addition to Hutchinson's own "Lymington" library edition, published from 1961 to 1979.) Having brought each of his major fictional series to a close with the final Roger Brook novel, Wheatley then turned to his memoirs. These were announced as five volumes, but never completed, and were eventually published as three books, the (fourth) volume concerning the Second World War issued as a separate title. His availability and influence declined following his death, partly owing to difficulties of reprinting his works because of copyright problems.
In 1998 Justerini & Brooks celebrated their upcoming 250th anniversary by revising his last work about their house, "The Eight Ages of Justerini's" (1965) and re-issuing it as "The Nine Ages of Justerini's". The revision by Susan Keevil brought the history up to date.
Wheatley's literary estate was acquired by media company Chorion in April 2008, and several titles were reissued in Wordsworth paperback editions. A new hardcover omnibus of Black Magic novels was released by Prion in 2011.
When Chorion encountered financial problems in 2012, the Rights House and PFD acquired four crime estates from them, including the Wheatley titles. PFD hoped to broker new series for TV and radio, and a move to digital publishing.
In October 2013, Bloomsbury Reader began republishing 56 of his titles; many of these will be edited and abridged. However, many of them will also have new introductions evaluating Wheatley's work, including some written by his grandson, Dominic Wheatley. These are to be available in both printed format and as ebooks.
In Stephen Volk's novella Netherwood (part of Volk's 2018 book The Dark Masters Trilogy), a fictional version of Wheatley meets Aleister Crowley and becomes involved in black magic.
All titles in this list (up to the end of the 'Short Story Collection' section) were made available in the 1970s 'Heron' hardback edition, except for the titles marked with an 'X'.
Thelema is a social or spiritual philosophy derived from Western esotericism. The word thelema is the English transliteration of the Koine Greek noun θέλημα "will", from the verb θέλω "to will, wish, want or purpose". While Thelema is most often regarded as a religion—a new religious movement and contemporary mystery religion in particular—it is also referred to as a philosophy, "religious philosophy", "spiritual philosophy", or "religious matrix". An adherent of Thelema is traditionally referred to as a Thelemite, and all phenomena within the scope of Thelema are termed Thelemic.
The Temple of Set is an occult initiatory order founded in 1975. A new religious movement and form of Western esotericism, the Temple espouses a religion known as Setianism, whose practitioners are called Setians. This is sometimes identified as a form of Satanism, although this term is not often embraced by Setians and is contested by some academics.
The Babalon Working was a series of magic ceremonies or rituals performed from January to March 1946 by author, pioneer rocket-fuel scientist, and occultist Jack Parsons and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. This ritual was essentially designed to manifest an individual incarnation of the archetypal divine feminine called Babalon. The project was based on the ideas of Aleister Crowley, and his description of a similar project in his 1917 novel Moonchild.
Black magic has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic for evil and selfish purposes. With respect to the left-hand path and right-hand path dichotomy, black magic is the malicious, left-hand counterpart of the benevolent white magic. In modern times, some find that the definition of "black magic" has been convoluted by people who define magic or ritualistic practices that they disapprove of as "black magic".
In Western esotericism the Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path are the dichotomy between two opposing approaches to magic. This terminology is used in various groups involved in the occult and ceremonial magic. In some definitions, the Left-Hand Path is equated with malicious black magic and the Right-Hand Path with benevolent white magic. Other occultists have criticised this definition, believing that the Left–Right dichotomy refers merely to different kinds of working and does not necessarily connote good or bad magical actions.
Victor Benjamin Neuburg was an English poet and writer. He also wrote on the subjects of theosophy and occultism. He was an associate of Aleister Crowley and the publisher of the early works of Pamela Hansford Johnson and Dylan Thomas.
The term Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) originates in the Catholic Church where a morning prayer is recited which reads, "Holy Guardian Angel whom God has appointed to be my guardian, direct and govern me during this day/ Amen". The idea of a Holy Guardian Angel is central to the book The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra Melin the Mage by Abraham of Worms, a German Cabalist who wrote the book on ceremonial magick during the 15th century and which was later translated by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, the founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He elaborated on this earlier work, giving it extensive magical notes, but the original concept goes back to the Zoroastrian Arda Fravaš. In Mathers' publication of The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, he writes:
The Devil Rides Out is a 1934 novel by Dennis Wheatley telling a disturbing story of black magic and the occult. The four main characters, the Duke de Richleau, Rex van Ryn, Simon Aaron and Richard Eaton, appear in a series of novels by Wheatley. The book was made into a film by Hammer Film Productions in 1968. There is also an abridged, young adult version "retold" by Alison Sage for the "Fleshcreepers" series (1987).
Sex magic is any type of sexual activity used in magical, ritualistic or otherwise religious and spiritual pursuits. One practice of sex magic is using the energy of sexual arousal or orgasm with visualization of a desired result. A premise posited by sex magicians is the concept that sexual energy is a potent force that can be harnessed to transcend one's normally perceived reality.
Stephen Volk is a Welsh screenwriter and novelist who specializes in the horror genre.
Sphere Books is the name of two British paperback publishers.
Liber Aleph vel CXI: The Book of Wisdom or Folly is the title of The Equinox, volume III, number VI, by Aleister Crowley. The book is written in the form of an epistle to his magical son, Charles Stansfeld Jones, Frater Achad, whom Crowley later doubted as being his true magical son, asserting that Achad had in fact gone insane, citing as evidence Achad's "upending the tree of life" in his Q.B.L., or The Bride's Reception, the first of Achad's major qabalistic works.
Richard Kaczynski is an American writer and lecturer in the fields of social psychology, metaphysical beliefs and new religious movements. He is known for his biography of the occultist Aleister Crowley, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley, described by The Times Literary Supplement as "the major biography to date", and by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten as the best biography of Crowley.
The Haunting of Toby Jugg is a 1948 psychological thriller novel on an occult theme by English writer Dennis Wheatley, incorporating his usual themes of satanic possession and madness, in what was at that time a fresh situation: a disabled British airman recovering from his experiences in the last stages of World War II, in which he played a part in the bombardment of Germany.
Biscot is an area of Luton close to the town centre. The area is roughly bounded by Montrose Avenue to the north, the Midland Main Line to the west, and the A6 to the east.
The Stratagem and other Stories is a small book of short stories written by Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), occult magician, poet and self-proclaimed prophet of a new Æon.
Amado Crowley was the pseudonym of an English occult writer and magician who claimed to be the secret illegitimate son of occultist and mystic Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). During a period of over thirty years, from the early 1970s through 2000s, he published and self-published many books and recordings.
The Haunted Airman is a psychological thriller film first aired on BBC Four on 31 October 2006. Adapted from Dennis Wheatley's 1948 novel The Haunting of Toby Jugg, it was directed by Chris Durlacher and starred Robert Pattinson in the title role, with Rachael Stirling and Julian Sands in supporting roles.
The Duke De Richleau is a fictional character created by Dennis Wheatley who appeared in 11 novels published between 1933 and 1970.
The Satanist is a black magic/horror novel by Dennis Wheatley. Published in 1960, it is characterized by an anti-communist spy theme. The novel was one of the popular novels of the 1960s popularizing the tabloid notion of a black mass.
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