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ALICE: AN ADULTERY


 

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Title:

Alice:  An Adultery

 

 

Upper Cover

(State a)

 

Lower Cover

(State a)

 

Spine

(State a)

 

Title Page

 

Publisher's Note

 

 

 

 

 

Print
Variations
:

State (a): 300 copies8 printed on hand-made7 Van Gelder3 paper.
Pages uncut.1
Bound in white turned-in wrappers of thin Japanese vellum.1
Upper cover lettered in red ‘ALICE’.1 
7 1/4” x 4 3/8”.6

State (b):

At least one copy printed on vellum.
One copy rebound by Zaehnsdorf in red morocco leather currently resides in the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas (Call No. PR 6005 R7 A76 1905 [copy 1]).5
Spine has five raised bands and is stamped horizontally across in gilt ‘ALICE | AN | ADULTERY’ [between 1st and 2nd raised band] | ‘1905’ [below 5th raised band].6
All outside edges are stamped in gilt with a double line.  Top and bottom of spine stamped in gilt with double lines in a semi-circle.6

Interior has a green watered silk lining with dentelles stamped in gilt.6 

Bound by Zaehnsdorf stamped at bottom of inner upper cover.6
7” x 4 1/8”.1

 
Publisher: Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth (S.P.R.T.).3  
Printer:    
Published At: Boleskine, Foyers, Inverness.3  
Date: 1905.3  
Edition: 2nd Edition.  
Pages:

iv + xii + 85.3

 
Price: Priced at 5 shillings.7  

Remarks:

Crowley had the original holograph manuscript for Alice.  An Adultery bound in blue levant morocco by Zaehnsdorf with a half morocco slip case.  Manuscript written in red ink, with pages here and there in black ink and pencil, and has many manuscript additions and deletions.  138 pages, quarto.4
This edition includes a publisher’s note stating that it is “slightly abridged”  which refers to the removal of “A Brief Critical Essay on Alice an Adultery”, “White Poppy” and “Love and Fear” which were in the 1903 edition.2
An extra verse is added to the twelfth part of the poem proper.2
 

Some copies with REVIEW printed in the upper left corner of the front wrapper were sent out as review copies.9

 

A copy exists in the Warburg Institute Collection that has Gerald Yorke’s transcriptions of extracts from letters written by Aleister Crowley to Gerald Kelly, and from Crowley’s autobiography giving details of the affair on which these poems are based.  Call Number:  EMH 1160.A43

 
Pagination:1
Page(s)  
[   α] Half-title
[   β] Publisher’s note
[   δ] Title-page
[   γ] Blank
[i-xii] Introduction
[   1] Divisional title ‘What Lay Before’
[   2] Blank
[3-11] Text
[   12] Blank
[   13] Divisional title ‘Alice:  An Adultery’
[   14] Blank
[15-85] Text
[   86] Blank
 
Contents: -  Introduction By The Editor
-  Messaline
California
Margaret
Alice: An Adultery

    -
 The First Day
    -  The Second Day
    -  The Third Day
    -  The Fourth Day
    -  Reincarnation
    -  The Fifth Day
    -  The Sixth Day
    -  The Seventh Day
    The Eighth Day
    The Ninth Day
    The Tenth Day
    The Eleventh Day
    The Twelfth Day
    Red Poppy
    The Thirteenth Day
    The Fourteenth Day
    The Fifteenth Day
    The Sixteenth Day
    The Seventeenth Day
    The Eighteenth Day
    The Nineteenth Day
    The Twentieth Day
    The Twenty-First Day
    The Twenty-Second Day
    The Twenty-Third Day
    The Twenty-Fourth Day
    The Twenty-Fifth Day
    The Twenty-Sixth Day
    Under The Palms
    The Twenty-Seventh Day
    The Twenty-Eighth Day
    The Twenty-Ninth Day
    The Thirtieth Day
    A Day Without A Number
    The Thirty-First Day
    The Thirty-Second Day
    The Thirty-Third Day
    The Thirty-Fourth Day
    The Thirty-Fifth Day
    The Thirty-Sixth Day
    Lethe
    The Thirty-Seventh Day
    The Thirty-Eighth Day
    The Thirty-Ninth Day
    The Fortieth Day
    The Forty-First Day
    The Forty-Second Day
    At Last
    The Forty-Third Day
    The Forth-Fourth Day
    The Forty-Fifth Day
    The Forty-Sixth Day
    The Forty-Seventh Day
    The Forty-Eighth Day
    The Forty-Ninth Day
    The Fiftieth Day
    -  After
 

Author’s
Working
Versions:

1.

Bound holograph manuscript with revisions in the hand of Aleister Crowley.  Pages:  138.  Dated:  1903.  Box 6, Folder 4.  Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX.

 

Other
Known
Editions:

+ Privately published, London, 1903.
+

The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley, Vol. II, pg. 64, Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, Boleskine, Foyers, Inverness, 1906.

 
Bibliographic
Sources:
1.

Dianne Frances Rivers, A Bibliographic List with Special Reference To the Collection at the University of Texas,  Master of Arts Thesis, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1967, p. 27.

2.

ibid, p. 28.

3.

Gerald Yorke, A Bibliography of the Works of Aleister Crowley (Expanded and Corrected by Clive Harper from Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn and Buddhism:  Reminiscences and Writings of Gerald Yorke, Keith Richmond, editor, The Teitan Press, York Beach, ME, 2011, p.43.

4. Complete Catalog of the Library of John Quinn, Sold by Auction in Five Parts, Volume one, ABB-MEY, the Anderson Galleries, New York, 1924, p. 227.
5. Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas. 
6. Personal observation of the item. 
7. Aleister Crowley, Mortadello, Catalog “The Works of Mr. Aleister Crowley,”, bound in back of book, Wieland and Co., London, 1912.
8. Weiser Antiquarian Books, Catalog # 18, “Aleister Crowley.  A Miscellany of Books and Manuscripts.”
9. Weiser Antiquarian Books, Catalog # 148, “Aleister Crowley.  A Manuscript, Books, and Ephemera.”
 

Comments by
Aleister
Crowley:

     ...I had a vague idea of getting a hut and a native girl, and devoting myself to poetry of the most wholesome kind with corresponding Magick. However, at the hotel was an exquisitely beautiful American woman of Scottish origin. She was ten years older than myself and had a boy with her just entering into his teens. She was married to a lawyer in the States and had come to Hawaii to escape hay fever.
     ...The woman was herself worthless from the points of view of the poet. Only very exceptional characters are capable of producing the positive effect; but it is just such women as Alice who inspire masterpieces, for they do not interfere with one’s work. Passionately as I was in love, and crazily as I was behaving in consequence, I was still able to make daily notes of the progress of the affair with the detached cynicism of a third party. I took her with me to Japan, but there was not enough in her character to count “the world well lost for love”. Exactly fifty days after I had met her she beat it back to her “provider”; and I understood immediately why my subconsciousness had insisted on my scribbling the details of our liaison in my diary.
     The departure of Alice inspired me to write the story of our love in a sonnet sequence. Each day was to immortalize its events in poetry. This again was one of my characteristically crude ideas, yet the result was surprisingly good — much better, perhaps, than I ever thought, or think now. No less a critic than Marcel Schwob called it “a little masterpiece”. And many other people of taste and judgment have professed themselves in love with it. Possibly the simplicity of its realism, its sincere and shame-free expression of every facet of my mind, constitute real merit. It is certainly true that most people find much of my work hard to read. The intensity of my passion, the profundity of my introspection, and my addiction to obscure allusions, demand the reader serious study, that he may grasp my meaning; and subsequent re-reading after my thought has been assimilated; until, no intellectual obstacle interrupting, he may be carried away by the current of my music and swept but it into the ocean of ecstasy which I myself reached when I wrote the poem. I am aware that few modern readers are capable of settling down deliberately to decipher me. And those who are may for that very reason be incapable of the orgiastic frenzy. Scholarship and passion rarely go together. But my muse is the daughter of Hermes and the mistress of Dionysus.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 226-227.

______________________________
 

     At “Marlborough” we found the conditions for work very favourable. The firs step was to get rid of all other preoccupations. I revised Tannhäuser, wrote an introduction, typed it all out and sent it to the press. I put aside Orpheus and left aside Alice, An Adultery to ripen. I did not think much of it; and would not publish it until time had ratified it.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 238.

______________________________
 

     Marcel Schwob excited my unbounded admiration. He was admittedly the finest French scholar of English. ...Even after all these years I glow with boyish pleasure to recall his gracious, unassuming acquiescence in my impertinent existence and his acknowledgement of my Alice, An Adultery as a “little masterpiece”.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 342.

______________________________
 

     I remember giving the manuscript of Alice to Kelly and a girl named Sybil Muggins to read, and they agreed that no really nice woman would have kissed a man so early as the thirteenth day of his wooing. I must confess to having been taken a little aback, especially as Sybil Muggins was Haweis’s mistress.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 350.

______________________________
 

     ...an old friend of Gerald’s (Kelly) and mine, Ivor Back, at this time a surgeon at St. George’s, to make up the house party. Ivor Back is one of the most amusing companions possible, to those who can stand him. He knows a good deal about literature and had published in The Hospital magazine some of the poems in which I had celebrated various diseases. I dedicated my In Residence, a collection of my undergraduate verses, to him, and he collaborated with me to a certain extent in the composition of various masterpieces of the lighter kind. He and Gerald are also responsible for numerous improvements in the preface to Alice, An Adultery.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 405-406.

______________________________
 

     Ivor and I, with some assistance from Gerald, collected such of these manuscripts as had not been destroyed, and with “the Nameless Novel”, we composed a volume (Snowdrops from a Curates Garden.) to carry on the literary form of White Stains and Alice; that is, we invented a perpetrator for the atrocities.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 413.

______________________________
 

     There remain my narrative and dramatic books on love. The Tale of Archais is simply jejune; I apologize and pass on. The Mothers Tragedy, “The Fatal Force”, Jezebel, Tannhäuser, all treat love not as an object in itself, but on the contrary, as a dragon ready to devour any one less than St. George. Alice is partly excusable, because it is really a lyric, when all is said and done. In any case, I do not value the book very highly. It is ridiculous to make anything important depend on the appetites of an American matron.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 556-557.

 
Reviews:

(Commenting on the book being published by the Society of the Propagation of Religious Truth)
     We confess to being so dense as to miss the essentially religious purpose of the book. . . . But the power of many of the sonnets is undeniable. . . . For the perfect art of these lyrics, for their tender music, we have nothing but admiration. . . .
—The Glasgow Herald, date unknown.

______________________________
 

     He has a good deal of talent of a weak, neurotic, lyrical kind, but it is purely derivative. . . . For matter, the author has turned to some unsavoury reminiscences of a chance acquaintance, reminiscences which plead to be forgotten, and which none but the very shameless would dare to put into print. . . . Most of the book is in need of what a poet has called “the purging fire.”  One or two single lines are good.  One or two stanzas have a meaningless derivative prettiness. . . .
—The Daily News, date unknown.

______________________________
 

     These love songs of his have a wonderful ardour, and almost Sapphic fury.  They flash and shine with images that are like little streaks of flame. . . . The verse with which the book opens has all the hard brilliance and the luster which are characteristic of the writer’s work.  The opening picture breaks on the senses like a shaft of sudden sunshine. . . . Among many things that occur to one in reading Mr. Crowley’s verses is their singular disseverance from the things of the day, their entire lack of what is called “The Modern Note” in poetry.  We must think that he deliberately shut his eyes to the writings of the intimate, romantic, impressionist school, or how else could so susceptible an artist have escaped its infection?
     Another thing that is apparent is the fitfulness of his inspiration.  A journey through the garden of the poet’s verses has all the excitement and the drawbacks of making one’s way by means of the illumination of lightning.  There is a lot of darkness to a small proportion of extreme brilliance, though, perhaps, as with all rare and superfine things this is necessarily the case.
     For the rest: great metrical force, rhythms so violent as almost sometimes to exhaust themselves, and, in some of the later work, a curious employment in his philosophy of paradox...
—The English Review, date unknown.

 
       
   

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