, Volume 94, Issue 2, pp 363–374

“Esoteric Elements”: The Judeo-Christian Scheme in Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan



This article looks at Arthur Machen’s baffling but defining work The Great God Pan from a completely new angle. Contrary to the text’s conspicuously pagan character, the essay argues that there is a calculated Judeo-Christian scheme beneath the surface. With the detection of this scheme, the peculiarities of Machen’s narrative make sense. By making intertextual connections and comparisons, and utilizing psychoanalytic ideas, the essay argues that the main character, Helen Vaughan, is the (re)incarnation of both an antichrist and Lilith. By employing a sophisticated esoteric narrative, the text updates the Judeo-Christian myth to fin-de-siècle London. The analysis attempts to illuminate the workings of Machen’s esoteric narration, observe its effects, and comprehend its purpose. It argues that the Judeo-Christian scheme in disguise is not only a proof of Machen’s personal theory of literature, but it is also chaotic and personal: Machen’s mystical vision and narrative obscurantism involves recombination, integration, and manipulation of the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Machen Judeo-christian Esoteric Mysticism Fin-de-siècle Lilith 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dafni, AthensGreece

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