The Centaur

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Published: 1911
Language: English
Wordcount: 90,689 / 270 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 54.8
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 9,440
Added to site: 2006.01.31 12403

One of the greatest "mystical" works by Blackwood, wherein he explores man's empathy with the unknown forces of the universe.

Show Excerpt

best results of Reason in his pocket, might return to the instinctive life--to feeling with--to the sinking down of the modern, exaggerated intellectual personality into its rightful place as guide instead of leader. He called it a Return to Nature, but what he meant, I always felt, was back to a sense of kinship with the Universe which men, through worshipping the intellect alone, had lost. Men today prided themselves upon their superiority to Nature as beings separate and apart. O'Malley sought, on the contrary, a development, if not a revival, of some faultless instinct, due to kinship with her, which--to take extremes--shall direct alike the animal and the inspired man, guiding the wild bee and the homing pigeon, and--the soul toward its God.

This clue, as he called it, crystallized so neatly and so conclusively his own mental struggles, that he had called a halt, as it were, to his own intellectual development.... The name and family of the snake, hence, meant to him the least important


Average Rating of 3.3 from 4 reviews: ****
Henry L. Ratliff

(1911) Supernatural Fantasy
Plot bullets

  • A newspaper reporter wants a change from the hectic meaningless life he is leading.

  • He wants a simpler life. One that takes him, perhaps, back to nature.

  • Aboard a steamer, he meets a man and boy. They seem to be going home. Not just back, but home.

  • This man and boy are friendly but at the same time distant.

  • They may possess the secret for which he is looking.

  • He finds himself on a strange voyage and an even stranger trip to the hills of the ancients and the beings that are 'as old as stone'..

  • Can he find and keep the contentment he seeks? And who is this strange being that is trying to show him the way?

Blackwood is one of my favorite authors of supernatural, horror,
and occult stories. I enjoy his rich use of language and vivid descriptions.
However, in this story, I found myself wishing that he used far less of
that ability. I think I understand what he was trying to do with the
depth of language, but found myself, often, wishing he would just say in
a few words, what he was taking several flowery sentences to say.


Utter nonsense. If you like drivel such as speech being "laughed", you might disagree.


A profound work of metaphysical research, superior to the magical fiction of Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune. The book will be of interest to students of the mysteries; people with a religious sensibility at odds with the limitations of prevailing orthodoxies; and anyone with an interest in going beyond the stifling constrictions of mundane reality.


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