REL 275 Dr. Versluis

Final Project

For this final writing project, I'd like you to find a particular Western esoteric individual and work that you can introduce. For instance, you might have been interested by our classroom discussion of alchemy, and want to introduce a twentieth century alchemist—for instance, the mysterious figure Fulcanelli. There are several books attributed to Fulcanelli, and a number of theories about who he was. You could look into these theories, and decide which, if any, have merit. Then you could include a short selection (at least a page and a half) of one of Fulcanelli's writings that corresponds to your introduction and argument about him. If you are interested in Wicca, you might choose to look at the author Charles Leland and his book Aradia, a major sourcework for contemporary neopaganism. Other possible subjects include such figures as Paschal Beverly Randolph, the African-American nineteenth century magician, Jan van Rijkenbrogh, the Dutch Rosicrucian, Dion Fortune, the remarkable twentieth century novelist and magician, or any other figure important in the history of Western esotericism. Your topic is entirely up to you, but you should mention it to me within the next two weeks to avoid problems. The book Magic and Mysticism undoubtedly can provide some figure of interest to you.

You are free to write as much as you wish on the figure and representative work that you choose; the minimum is 4 pages of introduction using at least two published references (only half your references or less being websites), and at minimum a 1.5 page selection from the work you choose as representative.

A second possibility is for you to write a paper arguing a thesis about a theme we've discussed in class, or that is indicated in one of the books we've read. Be sure, however, that in this case especially, your topic is not so broad as to be unusable. An example: you read one or more of the works of Bernadette Roberts, and develop your own interpretation of her work. If you choose this option, you won't need to offer a sample of her work, but will need to develop your own argument more fully, so that the paper is still five or more pages in length.

A print-out with a clear indication of your topic and argument, along with the books you intend to use for support, is due in class on Monday, April 4, 2008.

The final draft is due at the beginning of class on April 16, 2008.

Criteria include:

1. Whether your introduction also makes an argument about the figure and work you choose.

2. How developed your introduction and selection are.

3. How coherent and supported your paper is.

4. The number, nature, and value of your references.