Researcher with an open mind
My name is Lori and I am a postgraduate student, currently researching the publication history of Tiger-Woman by Betty May. I am becoming a bit of an expert on this short period and getting pretty adept at sorting truth from fiction (no mean feat where this book is involved!). I do however have a couple of questions that site members may be able to help me with
1) The Ripper Ties - Did this happen or is it as I think, another element to 'spice up the story'
2) Does anyone know which month 'The Confessions of Aleister Crowley - A hagiography' (aka Spirit of Solitude) came out. I know that it was first published by Mandrake in 1929 (the first two parts at least) but only the year appears on the title page. It would be really useful in establishing whether Aleister's assertions that Betty was brain damaged were a response to Tiger-Woman or Betty's assertions that she was left stranded overnight while Raoul was dying were her response to being called brain damaged (I don't believe either story is accurate). I have looked everywhere online and have had no joy - I can't even find a reveiw for 'Confessions' which is surprising because at this time even AC's pamphlets were being reviewed in the national press.
3) If anyone has ever come across anything unusual regarding either book, please let me know (although not information from the Yorke Files as I am very familiar with them!).
Please post without fear of judgement. Whilst not being a thelemite myself, I believe that the faiths of others should be respected. I certainly don't think that Aleister Crowley was a Satanist/Canibal/Pimp or any of the other spurious stories that appeared in the popular press during the time period that I'm studying!.
Many thanks to you all
I don't have the exact publishing date of the 1st volume, but it can't have been too early in the year. October or November seems more likely. The Mandrake Press wrote to Fernando Pessoa on November 22, 1929, that they were "... sending under seperate cover the first volume of the "CONFESSIONS OF ALEISTER CROWLEY", which has just appeared..." Pessoa wrote a few days earlier that he had just received a prospectus for the Confessions.
Maybe that helps
It also says "Autumn 1929" on the prospectus and on the back of it it advertises NEW BOOKS BY ALEISTER CROWLEY (Published Autumn 1929, by the Mandrake Press), namely MOONCHILD and THE STRATAGEM, which appear to have been published also autumn 1929, but earlier in autumn.
The fullest and earliest version of the 'Ripper Ties' story is in Crowley's Confessions (p.689 et seq). This was not published in full until 1969 but was compiled in the 1920s, largely at Cefalu and quite possibly while Betty May was present. In the Confessions Crowley is describing his time in America (1914-19 but early in that period, say 1915) and that the story comes from someone called Vittoria Cremers. He calls it her favourite story and it is about a former lover of her friend, Mabel Collins.
The story has been retold since and every time recast to suit the purposes of the new teller.
Betty May gave some sensational newspaper interviews on her return to the UK and I believe (i.e. half remember that) Tiger Woman was ghost-written by one of the journalists she met then.
Some time in the 30s Crowley was found guilty of possesing letters stolen from Betty May and fined.
I hope that's of some help.
You are amazing! I don't suppose you have a full reference for the location of that letter? I have to say that having confessions appearing after Tiger-Woman certainly explains a lot - with the exception of one earlier letter describing Betty as a half crazy whore, he is generally quite kind toward her in his personal writing (even feeling pity toward her regarding the early press reports).
OKontrair, thankyou for your input too - I wasn't aware that the 'ripper ties' were referenced in the later ed. of Confessions - perhaps I have been a little too stuck in the 20s! I was aware of the varous court cases - the transcripts offer one of the few sources where Betty admits to making things up!
For anyone that is interested in the publication history of this book, I am more than happy to provide a pdf at a later date as a thankyou for your help!
You are welcome. Unfortunately I can only guess (although it is a good guess) that the letter is still in the collection of the Pessoa House in Lisbon. It is quoted in full and facsimiled quite often in publications. The provided scan is from "Encontro Magick" by Miguel Roza (compiler), it is also in "Correspondencia 1923-1935 - Fernando Pessoa" by Manuela Parreira da Silva, it is also in the recently published "Boca do Inferno" by Steffen Dix (there might be a regular source information in this one, but I don't have it here at the moment. I can check on the wekend).
Looking forward to a PDF of your finished work.
did you find any material in Dix's book or in "Correspondencia 1923-1935 - Fernando Pessoa" by Manuela Parreira da Silva, that wasn't already available in "Encontro Magick"?
Lori, don't know where you are located but Geraldine at Atlantis Bookshop in London has some knowledge of Betty May and we've had some nice chats about her. Oh and yes, put me down for a PDF as well!
greetings from Berlin!
Absolutely! There are much less facsimiles in Dix' book and overall there are pretty much the same pieces of correspondence quoted, but there is of course this unfinished detective novel (written by an anonymous English detective, maybe AC, maybe Pessoa), which was planned to be published to make some money out of their suicide stunt. I only wish I could read the English original. Maybe I have to write to Dix about that.
oh i have that detective novel in English in the 2010 reissue
Lutz - again, thankyou!
WilliamThirteen - I'm not far from London so will definitely drop in at Atlantis and look Geraldine up!
Although I'm not a thelemite, I feel like I've found an academic home here - it's refreshing to find others that get excited about that one rare document.
Just to let you guys know in advance so that you don't feel as if I've misled you in anyway, I am a member of Betty May's extended family (which will be evident in the essay as there is an interview that makes it fairly clear). However, I feel it important to reassure you that my interest in this matter is truth and not sensationalism.
Rather bizarrely off to Soho now to meet the musical director who is adapting the book... this has to be the most varied project I've ever embarked on!
Thanks again everyone
PS WilliamThirteen out of sheer curiosity, what does the 93 signify in your greeting?