18 November 2014
[CROWLEY, Aleister (1875-1947).] White Stains. The Literary Remains of George Archibald Bishop A Neuropath of the Second Empire. [Amsterdam: Leonard Smithers,] 1898.
Quarto (225 x 180 mm). Printed on Van Gelder paper. Original black cloth, the spine and upper side lettered in white (extremities lightly rubbed, small scuff on upper side, hinges starting to split); custom purple morocco backed slipcase and chemise. Provenance: J.B. Rund (bookplate and his usual pencilled notes on the front endpaper).
FIRST EDITION OF THE RAREST AND MOST EXPLICITLY EROTIC LATE VICTORIAN VERSE, and one of the rarest of Crowley's works. Number 69 of 100 copies only. Crowley later wrote that his examination of sexual deviance is 'commonly quoted by my admirers as evidence of my addiction to every kind of unmentionable vice. Asses! It is, indeed, technically an obscene book, and yet the fact that I wrote it proves the purity of my heart and mind in the most extraordinary fashion... I wrote the book in absolute seriousness and in all innocence. It never occurred to me that a demonstration of the terrible results of misguided passion might be mistaken for pornography'. This copy is numbered in purple ink, probably by Smithers, and inscribed 'les revenants' alluding perhaps to the evocative number of this copy. Many copies of White Stains are said to have been destroyed by H.M. Customs in 1924; AE and ABPC record only two at auction in the past 40 years. Cornelius Crowley, p.207; Mendes 121.
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