Thursday, February 4, 2016

Page 209: Charles Staniland Wake

Staniland Wake (mentioned on page 209 of The Billionth Monkey) was an actual person, but you won’t find much written about him on the Web; Oxford Reference says “little seems to be known about his life.” The following paragraph about Wake is a previously unpublished outtake (cut for length) from my paper “Continuing Knowledge from Generation unto Generation” in the Oxford University Press anthology Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism (2012):

Charles Staniland Wake (1835–1910) was an early anthropologist who published widely on phallicism and various other esoteric subjects.  He presented his researches not only to the Anthropological Society,1 but also contributed to several journals including the Journal of Anthropology, Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, and American Anqituarian and Oriental Journal.2 He published a number of key books in the literature on phallicism, including Serpent Worship and Other Essays (1888) and, with Hodder Westropp (another member of the Anthropological Society), Ancient Symbol Worship (1875). Several of his papers were collected in the posthumous Sacred Prostitution and Marriage by Capture (1929).3 His other books include The Origin and Significance of the Great Pyramid (London: Reeves & Turner, 1882) and Vortex Philosophy, or the Geometry of Science (Chicago: the author, 1907).
Some books by C. Staniland Wake from my personal collection.
1 In 1871, the Anthropological Society of London and its old rival, the Ethnological Society, merged and formed the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

2 Wake, C. Staniland, “The Influence of the Phallic Idea in the Religions of Antiquity,” Journal of Anthropology 1 no. 2 (1870): 199-227.

Wake, C. Staniland, “The Origin of Serpent-Worship,” Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 2 (1873): 373-90.

Wake, C. Staniland, “The Suastika and Allied Symbols,” American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal 16, no. 1 (1894): 41-3.

3 Wake, C. Staniland, Serpent Worship and Other Essays, with a Chapter on Totemism (London: George Redway, 1888).

Westropp, Hodder M. & Wake, C. Staniland, Ancient Symbol Worship. Influence of the Phallic Idea in the Religions of Antiquity, with an Introduction, Additional Notes, and an Appendix by Alexander Wilder, M.D.  Second edition (New York: J. W. Bouton, 1875).

Wake, G. (sic) S., Sacred Prostitution and Marriage by Capture (privately printed, 1929).

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