Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue # 140
Aleister Crowley: Used and Rare Books and Ephemera.
Welcome to the one hundred-and-fortieth of our on-line catalogues, this being another of our specialised Aleister Crowley lists.
The catalogue is in three sections, the first of which comprises copies of the “book of the (Crowley-themed) movie” Chemical Wedding inscribed by co-author Julian Doyle. We thought we’d sold out of these at the time of the launch seven years ago, but recently discovered half-a-dozen copies tucked away in a corner, which we now offer on a first come, first served basis.
The second part of the catalogue is devoted to “Books and Ephemera by and About Aleister Crowley.” Amongst the rare and fascinating ephemera, are an archive of correspondence relating mainly to Crowley publishing in the 1970s addressed to Crowley’s literary executor and biographer John Symonds. The archive includes 12 Typed letters, signed, from Kenneth Grant to Symonds, and 22 letters, typed and handwritten, from Peter MacFarlane (of 93 Publishing / Next Step Publications / 418 Books) to Symonds, as well as a selection of other related material. Also listed are two of the rarest pieces of significant Crowley ephemera; the anonymously published broadsheet To Man, issued in Tunisia in 1924, and the Ordo Templi Orientis … Manifesto, released in Switzerland in 1963 in which Hermann Metzger (Paragranus, 1919-1990) declared himself Outer Head of the Ordo Templi Orientis, as well as association copies of two unusual items issued by the O.T.O.’s Agape Lodge: a copy of One Star In Sight (1935) with the personal lamen seal with phallic design stamped in red on the title-page of Lodge Head and publisher Wilfred Talbot Smith, and the Hollywood edition of Thumbs Up! Five Poems by Aleister Crowley (1942), inscribed to Reea Leffingwell by Max Schneider (both were active members of Agape Lodge and Schneider, who lived in Hollywood, was almost certainly responsible for the publication of this edition of the booklet). Other ephemera includes two handwritten and signed letters from Aleister Crowley, both in their original envelopes, one of which has a heavy wax seal impressed with the the cartouche of Ankh-f-n-khonsu from Crowley’s ring, two original handwritten Menu Cards on which Crowley had outlined meals he served to friends in 1939, and a typed “I.O.U.” signed by Crowley and – rarer yet – a receipt acknowledging that he had paid the debt. There are numerous other pieces and collections of ephemera, simply to many to list in this short space.
Amongst the more unusual books are a first edition of The Sword of Song. Called by Christians The Book of the Beast (1904) a work described by Richard Kaczynski as “Crowley’s first great talismanic book” and the book in which Crowley first made plain his identification with “666.” There are also matching first editions of Little Essays Toward Truth (1938) and The Heart of the Master (1938), the latter with a presentation inscription from Gabriel Montenegro Vargas (Frater Zopiron, IX degree, O.T.O.), the last person to be initiated into Agape Lodge in California. Quite different – but truly rare – is a copy of Scarlet and Blue. A Hunting Novel (1912 / 1920), by Crowley’s friend Charles Hewson (pseudonym of Ludovick Charles Richard Duncombe Jewell), which has some obvious fictionalised references to Boleskine, the O.T.O., tarot reading, etc. Boleskine is also the subject of the prototype of Views of Boleskine from Aleister Crowley’s “Manifesto of the M.’. M.’. M.’.” – a work which Helen Parsons Smith prepared for publication, but never issued as such. Other rarities are scattered throughout the catalogue.
The third and final section of the catalogue comprises issues of The Occult Review” each of which contains either a letter, essay, or other piece by Crowley, or reviews of and / or advertisements for his publications. Perhaps needless to say some of the issues of this well known journal also contain contributions by other significant figures, including Dion Fortune, J. F. C. Fuller, A. E. Waite, et al.
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