The Magnum Opus series edited by Adam McLean was initially produced in the period 1979-1986. They were conceived as a vehicle for providing people with access to important alchemical and hermetic texts that had never been available in print in recent times. Many of these were translations of texts from manuscripts and early printed books in Latin, German, French and Italian. Each of these books required much in-depth research. They are not reprints of works from the 19th century occult revival, such as Waite’s Hermetic Musaeum, but each book was edited from original source material. Many of the volumes contain first ever translations of these texts into English.
This series of books provide a survey of the alchemical/hermetic tradition, and include key works such as the Crowning of Nature, the Rosary of the Philosophers, and works of Robert Fludd, Trithemius, Khunrath, Dee, Michael Maier. Many of these editions have extensive commentaries as well as introductory material. These allow the reader to approach closer to the true nature of alchemical and hermetic ideas, by going back to the source rather than merely reading the often muddled interpretations of 20th century commentators. To get the the truth one has to go back to the original material.
As they were not sold through book dealers, but only by direct mail order, these books have became collectors items, often fetching high prices on the second-hand market. Only a few copies remain of some of the books in this series, and these are sometimes available through this online bookshop. Stocks are extremely limited and often become unavailable for months while time is found to bind up another batch.
Nine of the earlier 23 volumes (Nos. 1, 4, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 18, 22) were issued by Phanes Press in paperback editions – though no more will be issued by Phanes which is now defunct. Since 1997 twelve more titles in this series have been issued with more to appear in the years ahead.
Each book in these limited editions is individually signed and numbered by Adam McLean. These books are produced in limited editions of 250 or 300 copies, but are made in small batches of about 10 or so at a time.
These books are entirely unique. They are bound by hand in a full leather binding. This process takes a great deal of time, up to three hours per book. This is why the prices are quite high, but it also means that bound copies of the books are not always instantly available.
Naturally, I am determined to not only own, but also have read and understood, to the best of my ability, each and every book in this series, as well as his 8 Hermetic Studies Books.