Saturday, September 30, 2006

Aphrodite reversed, 1895

One of the most famous and enigmatic hollow earth novels is Etidorhpa, published in 1895. H.P. Lovecraft had read it and observed the curious, backwards spelling of Aphrodite. Written by John Uri Lloyd (1849 - 1936) and magnificently illustrated by J. Augustus Knapp, it was so succesful that it became translated into Swedish (1898) and German (1899), and is still in print today.

Lloyd, a pharmacist, wrote eight novels. The royalties from these and Etidorhpa, his first, served to expand his pharmaceutical library, one of the largest in the United States. As to the identity of the enigmatic guide in Etidorpha called I Am The Man, hollow earth bibliographer Bruce Alan Walton points towards William Morgan, a Freemason who published the secrets of the craft in 1826.

Immediately after his death, strong opinions arose that he was murdered by his brethren. Morgan's death caused a minor furore and public opinion swayed against freemasonry.

It is also suggested that Morgan knew Mormon Joseph Smith: he "had been a half way convert... and had learned from him to see visions and dreams..." Morgan's widow would marry Smith. But what about that strange book Etidorhpa? Lloyd wrote:
"Etidorhpa is not an idle creation. The mission of this book is unseen by most of its readers. The thought current will be felt though by every reader and it pains me to appreciate the fact that to some the beauties of the work will serve but to deepen their hatred of conceptions holy and sublime..."

1 comment:

Philip A. Centaur said...

It was William Morgan, not James Morgan. I'm glad that you mentioned both the Morgan and Joseph Smith connections.

John Uri Lloyd was also a friend of Mark Twain, who was a Freemason.