Monday, July 3, 2006


Zanoni Cover

Book: Zanoni by Edward Bulwer Lytton

Zanoni is an 1842 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton This piece of literature describes a fascinating story of love and occult aspiration. By way of introduction, the author confesses: "...It so chanced that some years ago, in my younger days, whether of authorship or life, I felt the desire to make myself acquainted with the true origins and tenets of the singular sect known by the name of Rosicrucians." A manuscript came into his hands written in the most unintelligible cipher, a manuscript which through the author's own Interpretation became Zanoni.

Zanoni is an immortal and as such he cannot fall in love but he does fall in love with Viola, an opera singer from Naples. Zanoni has lived for ages since the times of the Chaldean civilization. His master Mejnor warns him against having a love affair with the actress but Zanoni does not heed. He finally marries Viola and they have a child. As Zanoni experiences an increase in humanity, he begins to lose his gift of immortality. He finally dies in the guillotine during the French Revolution.

The name Zanoni is derived from the Chaldean root zan, meaning "sun".

Bulwer-Lytton humanized Gothic art and evoked its poetry. In Zanoni, Bulwer goes deep into the Rosicrucian Mysteries unveiling the secrets hidden in the four elements, secrets which only initiated Rosicrucians have the power to reveal, the ultimate goal being the discovery of the Elixir of life and the attainment of immortality and eternal youth. This is all depicted in Zanoni himself who at the time of Babylon the great abandoned all human passions in order to become immortal but during the French Revolution, in order to become human again, he falls in love and dies in the guillotine. Bulwer-Lytton fashioned Gothic material to suit the Victorian era.

What influence if any, Zanoni could have had on Nietzsche is a matter of pure conjecture but again Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race had an influence on the Nazi interpretation of the Superman. A. R. Orage himself re-read Zanoni within two years of having read Thus Spoke Zarathustra and in an article on Zanoni, written in 1902, he mentions Nietzche for the first time. For Orage, Zanoni's teacher Mejnor's plan to create a race of supermen is most agreeable and a reading subject worthy of Cecil Rhodes.

It is Zanoni's ultimate sacrifice that would give Bulwer-Lytton's friend Charles Dickens an idea on how to end A Tale of Two Cities.

Speaking to Glyndon, Mejnour says of the Guardian, "...Know, at least, that all of us - the highest and the wisest - who have, in sober truth, passed beyond the threshold, have had, as our first fearful task, to master and subdue its grisly and appalling guardian."

According to the German Occultist Rudolf Steiner, the Guardian of the Threshold is an actual figure of an astral nature which was fictionalized by Bulwer-Lytton in the novel Zanoni.

Samael Aun Weor refers to Adonai as Zanoni's real Master and to the Guardian of the Threshold as the Psychological 'I' or reincarnating ego.

Download Edward Bulwer Lytton's eBook: Zanoni

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Roger Whitaker - Antinomianism
Sir William Stirling Maxwell - The Canon
Edward Bulwer Lytton - Zanoni

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