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Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

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Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke
Goodrick-Clarke in his office
Goodrick-Clarke in his office
Born(1953-01-15)15 January 1953[1]
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK
Died29 August 2012(2012-08-29) (aged 59)[2]
OccupationHistorian, professor, writer
Alma materUniversity of Bristol (B.A.)
St Edmund Hall, Oxford (D.Phil.)
SubjectHistory of Western esotericism
Notable worksThe Occult Roots of Nazism (1985)[3][4]
Black Sun (2001)[5][6]

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (15 January 1953 – 29 August 2012) was a British historian and professor of Western esotericism at the University of Exeter, best known for his authorship of several scholarly books on the history of Germany between the World Wars and Western esotericism.

Early life and education[edit]

Goodrick-Clarke was born in Lincoln, UK, on 15 January 1953, and was an Open Exhibitioner at Lancing College. He studied German, politics, and philosophy at the University of Bristol, and gained a B.A. with distinction.[7] Moving to St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, Goodrick-Clarke took a D.Phil. with a dissertation on the modern Occult Revival and Theosophy at the end of the twentieth century.


Goodrick-Clarke's Ph.D. dissertation was the basis for his most celebrated work, The Occult Roots of Nazism.[3] This book has been continually in print since its first publication in 1985, and has been translated into twelve languages. Later notable works include his well-regarded Paracelsus: Essential Readings, published in 1990, and Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity, published in 2001.[5]

In his varied career, Goodrick-Clarke worked as a schoolmaster, banker, and a successful fundraiser for The Campaign for Oxford. In 2002, he was appointed a Research Fellow in Western Esotericism at the University of Lampeter,[7] and then in 2005 he was appointed to a personal chair in the Department of History at Exeter University. As Professor of Western Esotericism and Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO), he developed a successful distance-learning M.A. in Western Esotericism and successfully supervised a number of doctoral students. While at Exeter he wrote The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction, published in 2008.

In 1983, Goodrick-Clarke was one of the founder members of "The Society", an informal London-based association of professional and amateur scholars of esotericism, including Ellic Howe, the publisher Michael Cox, John Hamill, and the scholar of Rosicrucianism, Christopher McIntosh. He was a founding member of both the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism and the Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE), in America. He was a faculty member of the New York Open Center from 1995.

Later life and death[edit]

Goodrick-Clarke was the Director of the Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO) within the College of Humanities at Exeter until his death on 29 August 2012.


  • The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890–1935, 1985 – ISBN 0-85030-402-4
  • Enchanted City – Arthur Machen and Locality: Scenes from His Early London Years, 1880–85, 1987 – ISBN 0-948482-03-6
  • The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction, 1988 – ISBN 0-19-532099-9
  • Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism, 1998–2000 – ISBN 0-8147-3111-2
  • Unknown Sources: National Socialism and the Occult, co-authored with Hans Thomas HaklISBN 1-55818-470-8
  • Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity, 2002 – ISBN 0-8147-3155-4
  • Helena Blavatsky, edited and introduced by Goodrick-Clarke, 2004 – ISBN 1-55643-457-X
  • G.R.S. Mead and the Gnostic Quest, by G. R. S. Mead, edited and introduced by Clare Goodrick-Clarke and Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, 2005 – ISBN 1-55643-572-X


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas" in Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  2. ^ In memoriam Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, 1953–2012 Archived 7 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (1985). The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology - The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 0-8147-3054-X.
  4. ^ Obituary. Fall 2012. p. 2. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  5. ^ a b Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2001). Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity. New York and London: New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-3124-6. LCCN 2001004429.
  6. ^ Whaley, Joachim (December 2004). "Review - Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity. By Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. New York and London: New York University Press, 2002". Journal of European Studies. 34 (4). SAGE Publications: 373–375. doi:10.1177/004724410403400418. ISSN 0047-2441. LCCN 74648576. OCLC 39082464. S2CID 153423661.
  7. ^ a b "Obituary". The Times. 11 October 2012.

External links[edit]