With a new focus on Gothic prevailing in new literature I’m often left wondering as to where the genre first started. Albeit it could be argued that Gothic literature owes its origins to many sources it within the myths of the ancient Greeks that we owe so much of our literature today. From the Greeks originates the god Pan, the legendary half-man-half-goat god whose portrayal and image has been synonymous with fear, panic and even alleged to be acknowledged as Jesus himself! Yet, the actual figure of Pan is far more complex, and in Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return, Paul Robichaud opens the doors to this both mystical and magical figure who has pervaded our history and literature.
Starting with Pans origins in ancient Arcadia we’re taken through a labyrinthine journey through time, and sometimes space, to gain insight into Pan’s influence, not only in the ancient world, where he emerged as part of the Greek Panteon, but also influencing modern writers such as Wordsworth, Blake and Arthur Machen, whose terrifying depictions of Pan have influenced modern authors to this day. However, there is also a more esoteric influence of Pan, who came to influence occultists such as Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune, but also influenced more metaphysical thinkers coinciding with the work such as of Emanuel Swedenborg.
Although very much an academic piece in Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return Paul Robichaud has managed to create a narrative and history that is not only accessible to the reader but also a narrative that is enjoyable and insightful. In many ways reflecting a compendium of sorts over an in-depth analysis of Pan’s character, I do think this allows the reader to see how Pan has influenced culture through the writings of the many famous luminaries who have delved into this mystical and complex character which has spanned between good and evil throughout the centuries.
In Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return Paul Robichaud creates not only the most extensive account of one of mythology’s most elusive characters but also creates a history emboldened with a charm and style that will captivate and engage any reader.
- Pan: The Great God’s Modern Return by Paul Robichaud is out now on paperback, published by Reaktion Books (£12.99). To order a copy go to reaktionbooks.co.uk