God: Death

Palimpsest Press

8.25" x 10.75"

292 Pages, Color

GOD, the first in Brendan Graham Dempsey's multi-volume work, the Icon, presents readers with a future civilization's epic poem in scholarly edition. Fitting its role as the foundation of a new mythology, it narrates the death of the elderly God of Western civilization, followed by a young radical's quest into the underworld to bring back a renewed sense of Sacredness.



With growing ecological, economic, and political instability, one wonders how long things can continue as they are. Don't we seem overdue for some fundamental restructuring of our systems? Our society? Ourselves? What other worlds are possible?

In my project, the Icon, I am trying to imagine a future civilization through its canon of sacred scriptures. This multi-media work (incorporating writing [in various genres], illustration, music, and other art forms) will offer a glimpse into an imagined culture, an entire tradition of myths, rituals, songs and ceremonies, philosophy, criticism and commentary. And just as every civilization has its epic literature, so GOD, a 500-page pentameter poem written by a mysterious figure named Julian, is theirs.

DEATH is the first installment in the GOD trilogy. It takes as its subject the last myth with any real currency in secular times: The Death of God. What the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had ominously alluded to, Julian's first poem chronicles in dramatic detail, enlarging the haunting philosophical myth to 125 pages of industrial war in Heaven.

We hear it all from Joel, a former angel who sided with the insurrectionists after Heaven failed him. Singing on his mandolin by the grave of God, Joel offers his account in memory of Sacredness: a final song to eulogize Spirit. From the ancient origins of religion, then, to the modern disenchantment of the world, Joel narrates the West's epochal transformation, overseen and led by an iconoclastic intellectual named John Faust. 


The fallout from this existential war, and the personal quest it sets in motion for the speaker, are taken up in the poem's sequels, DESCENT (winter 2020) and RESURRECTION (summer 2022).

GOD is presented in the form of a critical edition by this culture's scholars. In addition to Julian's poem DEATH, then, are over 150 pages of supplementary material. This includes:

  • two prefaces and marginal notes by the poem's original editor, A. Severan;

  • introduction, additional marginalia, and appendices of extended notes, discussion questions, and literary criticism by the critical edition's editor, M. M. Greenwood;

  • the Corpus Julianicus, a (probably pseudepigraphal) collection of texts purported to be those of the author, from which his traditional biography has been abstracted;

  • a musical liturgy from this imagined culture's catechism-esque work, the Praxipoetica;

  • a collection of discovered manuscript fragments that develop material from Julian's work; and, finally,

  • the first in a triptych of philosophical essays called The Oil & The Lamp.




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