Review: Necronomicon – A Manual of Corpse Eating by Martin Llewellyn

cover of necronomicon by Martin llewellynNecronomicon: A Manual of Corpse Eating by Martin Llewellyn
Biting Dog Press (December 2019)
42 pages; Limited Edition (35 copies)

Reviewed by Rick Hipson

Welcome to a grotesque and fascinating journey into the historical depths of the Book of the Dead and its curator, the mad alchemist, Abdullah Alhazred. Martin Llewellyn, who provides translations from Alhazred’s ancient texts, proclaims he obtained the pages in error when they fell from another book he had requested from the Rare Books and Music in the British Library. Knowing he shouldn’t scour the third century torn, scorched and barely illegible texts, how could he resist? His translations now remain for your eyes only. Or, at least for those lucky enough to own one of only thirty-five copies produced.

The book conveys the morbid evolution of the Necronomicon from its beginnings to its influence on the world of medicine, literature (particularly in H.P. Lovecraft’s prose), and occult beliefs recognized to this day. Added to the experience of the book are photographed and translated excerpts from Alhazred’s original notes describing his practice of consuming flesh and performing barbaric rituals in an effort to communicate with the Old Gods.

Along with insightful, fully fleshed-out (no pun intended) research, the book also showcases several photos and extracts from as early as 650 AD. On full display are written theories about the origin of humanity and detailed sacrificial ceremonies carried out by Alhazred and those who came and studied before him, such as John Dee (1527-1608). Dee had ascertained man and the divine were intricately connected, that we’re born of star dust, and it was simply a matter of rediscovering how to put our essence back into motion.

Each copy includes an original woodblock print from celebrated Canadian artist George A. Walker, making each book a true one-of-a-kind collector’s copy. At forty-two pages, the book may appear slight in volume, but make no mistake: there’s plenty to digest and readers will no doubt enjoy repeated helpings of its engrossing historical content.

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