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Abstract

In France at the end of the 19th century, both conspiracy theories and occult literature were widely read. A number of the most prominent occultists and conspiracy theorists also wrote extensively in the other genre. This paper examines both the occult and political writings of these authors in order to determine what connection exists between their conspiracy theories and occult writings. Both genres employed a kind of divination to reveal hidden truths about the world. They both analyzed these hidden truths in a logical framework that was all-encompassing and impossible to debunk. The purpose of this logical process was for the occultist or conspiracy theorist to explain the massive societal changes France had undergone in the 19th century. They used this knowledge to create a historical understanding which laid the blame for any and every political or cultural setback on a specific enemy, one which they could overcome to create their desired social order. This paper reveals the fundamental logical connections between occultism and conspiracy theories and considers what this connection explains about each literary form.

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