cover image The Baphomet

The Baphomet

Pierre Klossowski. Eridanos Press, $15 (173pp) ISBN 978-0-941419-17-8

Awarded the Prix des Critiques in 1965, this elegant novel will be of considerable interest to those with a taste for the rarefied currents of contemporary French intellectual experimentation. Opening with the events precipitating the dissolution of the Templar Order in 1307, the setting moves quickly beyond the historical into the theological as the focus shifts to the disembodied spirits of the dead, martyred members of the Order. Klossowski, who identifies this work as ``gnosis or fable, or Oriental tale,'' investigates the problematic nature of identity by asking what becomes of a soul dissociated from a body. This question is further complicated by the ``pure'' souls' erotic interest in the alluring and recently abandoned body of a young page, variously populated by the spirits of the dissipated Grand Master of the Order and of St. Theresaa situation that allows Klossowski to stage a discussion of idolatry and the nature of deities. Foucault's essay further illuminates the theoretical principles at stake in Klossowski's adumbrated visions of eternity. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)