Into the first ten books of the Sentence the personal has entered though a variety of strategies and indirections. With Magic the personal comes to the fore, as literal autobiography, at least when MM, and not Orisis, is the subject of the narrative. In all the books of HERMES the reflective reader wonders, which is the foreground and which the background, which the primary text and which the “intertext”? Do real, mundane events illustrate the thought of the classic, or does the classic comment on those mundane events? And how, for that matter, can an ancient text comment on the present? Hermes is the god of texuality, not only the inventor of writing but also the original hermeneutical reader. In another sense he is the author of the Sentence. Like Hermes MM is highly educated, widely traveled and eloquent. As Magic details his movements we learn that he has advanced from Birmingham, Alabama, to Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago and New York, taking out time at Yale and Harvard to hone his hermeneutical skills before arriving at a scene of challenged textuality. Unlike Second and Every, Magic is rooted in a pre-classical (Egyptian) and a postclassical (Neoplatonic) text, the Corpus Hermeticum. The god of universal travel conspires to record MM’s ascents, descents and tergiversations, glossing his mundane life and the higher cultural traditions that have influenced him.
The full text of Magic 1-11 and 12-18
Pages from Magic about Germany in German translation