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. 50.
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, pp. 129-130.
observation of the item.
P.R. Stephensen, The Legend of Aleister Crowley,
Helios Books, Enmore, NSW, Australia, 2007, p. 33.
Thelema Lodge Calendar, November 1997,
Internet resource last accessed on 27 November 2015.
Timothy d’Arch Smith, The Books of the Beast,
Mandrake, Oxford, 1991, p. 32.
Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of
Aleister Crowley, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002, p.
Moonchild By Aleister Crowley. (The Mandrake Press, 10s. 6d.)
We have an
unusual measure of genius in the phrases born of the author’s
fancy, but the mystical in the pages of “Moonchild” appears to
be overweight, if clever. Mr. Crowley’s effort appears to be to
work into the chapters a full, true and particular description
of the magical operation by which the spirit of the moon was
invoked into the being of an expectant mother, despite the
machinations of the Black Lodge of rival magicians.
Plots and counter-plots are
provided in abundance; there are many nationalities concerned,
and a “certain Abbey” in Sicily is chosen for what the author
calls the great experiment. “Moonchild” was written a dozen
years ago, “during such leisure as my efforts to bring America
into the war on our side allowed me.” And, asks the author, “Need I add that, as the book itself demonstrates beyond all
doubt, all persons and incidents are purely the figment of a
disordered imagination?” There is, the reviewer might add, the
pen of a ready writer; the alert and spontaneous brain of the unbaiting thinker, and the action of a man who is accustomed to
have thoughts translated into words and carried into deeds. Here
are talks on marriage, on alcohol and one knows what besides,
and scarcely upon what pegs the talk are hanging; these are
quotations from Scripture and from Byron and Tolstoi, and even
George Sand, Chopin, Maximilian, and that Salt lake City
notoriety - Joseph Smith.
One Cyril Grey is an oft-recurring figure in the
story. He is the King Charles head of the whole narrative. But
Madame Blavatsky and Theosophy and Christian Science are worked
into the fabric which runs out to a full fabric in which war is
made up of the web and weft. Now we have two chapters in which
names are more familiar, some that are revered, some abhorred.
We get an idea like this : All Europe will be serene and stand
for years to come. But the new generation will fear neither
poverty nor death. They will fear weakness, they will fear
dishonour. Foch. Von Kluck, Cripps, Joffre, and the then Crown
Prince, come into the picture; there is some preaching of
foreign affairs; some talk of espionage; some of promotions and
of what the Crown Prince was expected to do; and a graphic
picture of the retreat from Mons. But that is unmatched in
history, says Crowley, and is known and has been read of all
—The Sheffield Independent. 16 October 1929.
Moonchild. By Aleister Crowley.
Mandrake Press. 10s 6d.net.
sub-title to “Moonchild” are the words “A Prologue.” We take
this to mean that Mr. Aleister Crowley will produce a sequel to
this amazing mixture of black and white magic. Much of the book
is frankly revolting in it’s details. If such abominations are
performed they are hardly fit subject for a work of fiction. The
tale is, briefly, concerned with the efforts of white magicians
to secure the entrance of a spirit of the moon into an expectant
mother; and the efforts of black magicians to defeat the white.
The moonchild is born, and forthwith disappears from the story,
which then finishes during the war. In this the white magicians
reveal the German General Staff plans to Foch while the British
Army is retreating from Mons. The whole atmosphere of the story
is unreal and unpleasant.
25 October 1929.
The average novel reader would be dazed by
Aleister Crowley’s “Moonchild” (London: The Mandrake Press, 10s
6d). The brilliantly original fancy that leaps and coruscates in
this fantastical romance is directed by an acute intelligence
and used with a craft not perhaps equaled outside the
superlative whimsies of Anatole France. The story of “Moonchild”
is so much moonshine. It is the substantial interest of its
background that arrests, dazzles, and provokes. “Moonchild” is a
literary curio. Collectors of bizarre bric-a-brac should secure
Courier and Advertiser,
7 November 1929.
By Aleister Crowley. Mandrake Press: 10s 6d.
“Moonchild” is one of the most extraordinary fantastic yet
attractive novels we have read. A twice-divorced “widow” falls
in love with Cyril Grey, who turns out to be a magician and
member of an altogether saintly order of thaumaturgists. It is
desired that Grey’s child by this woman shall be fashioned by
pre-natal influences that it will grow up to be a great
regenerator of mankind. A hostile corps of magicians set
themselves to frustrate this experiment and a battle of
demonology rages round the Neapolitan villa where the honeymoon
couple have their quarters. The upshot need not be disclosed,
but it’s significance is rather more obscure than that of the
body of the story.
The charm of “Moonchild” lies in the telling. We are
constantly reminded of the moods of Anatole France and the
methods of Rabelais. From extensive dissertations on magic and
spiritualism we are suddenly switched into humour that is
sometimes normal, sometimes sardonic. From a glimpse into the
blackest mysteries of Hecate we are transferred to a wonderful
white vision of the poets. From the trivialities of peace we
emerge into the horrors of the Great War. “Moonchild” is not
more fantastic than a thorough going “thriller”, but it is also
a satire and an allegory, full of disorder and genius.
28 October 1929.
Moonchild. A Prologue. By Aleister
Crowley. 335pp. Mandrake Press 10s 6d.
curious novel was written some twelve years ago but appears now
apparently for the first time and without additions or
emendations. It will be found interesting more for it’s
dabblings in medieval magic, both black and white, than for any
merits it possesses as a novel, for the motives equally with the
methods of it’s dramatis personae, are too distant from the
common experience of humanity to attract of themselves. The
story is that of a group of white magicians who go “soul fishing
in the fourth dimension,” seeking to draw a spirit of the moon
into the body of an expectant mother, and of the plots of a
rival black lodge to set their plan awry. There is a good deal
of ceremony, some of it of an extremely unpleasant nature,
described at length, and a defence of magic which is evidently
intended to be taken seriously. But the tale is itself in sense,
though not wholly, a hoax, and no single intellectual level is
long maintained. At times, as in the interview between Douglas,
the Black Magician, and “Doc” Butcher, an American aspirant, it
descends to pure farce. Mr. Crowley is clever, and has literary
skill, but here, as in earlier writings, he identifies himself
too completely with the actuality of magical experience to be
acceptable to the less confident reader.
—The Times Literary Supplement, 7 November 1929.
Possibly the author may know what this nonsense is all
—The New Statesman, 4 November 1929.
no idea that Mr. Crowley was one of the “most mysterious” of
living writers, or even that he was mysterious. What does it
mean anyway? That he writes mystery novels? That it is a
mystery why he writes novels? That no one knows who he is? Or
—The New Age, 7 November 1929.
Two books have come to hand that are in striking contrast. In
one, entitled “Moonchild,” we have an example of the
complicated, turgid, esoteric writing—the kind that reaches out
for the effect that is aimed at by the futuristic painter, in
which he gets beyond the infinite—or believes he does. In the
other, “Carl and Anna,” a translation from the German, is the
simplification of language to perfection. “Moonchild” is
difficult to understand. You read words, words, words—mystic
references, invented oddities, and peculiar actions, until the
confusion is worse confounded, and you get tired of endeavouring
to find out what the author is driving at. “Carl and Anna” is
one of those plain stories that appear to have been sifted and
polished until not one superfluous word is left. One is carried
through the first in curiosity to know what strange thing will
be said next, while the second holds the interest by the sheer
intensity of the dramatic story being told. “Moonchild” is a
tale of a “magickal” operation by which a spirit of the moon is
invoked into the being of an expectant mother and is full of
passages of romance and poetic meanderings in anything but a
lucid style. “Carl and Anna” is of a woman left alone when her
husband went to the war; of his companion in the prison camp,
who is his counterpart in appearance, becoming so saturated with
the husband’s talk of his wife that when he escapes he
impersonates the husband, and, though detected by the woman, is
accepted by her as such.
—The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 1930.
The attack in the Press which led to Aleister Crowley’s first
novel “The Diary of a Drug Fiend” will be recalled by many
readers. Here is another story more fascinating than daring,
which could only have come from the brilliant pen of this
amazing writer. It describes a magical operation by which a
spirit of the moon is inculcated into the being of an expectant
mother despite the attempted preventions of rival magicians.
Sicily is chosen as the centre for the great climax of the
story. There are weird happenings at a séance with restless
fingers “moving and twisting in uncanny shapes.” Articles upon
the table “hop, skip and dance like autumn leaves in a
whirlwind.” The story is strange and entrancing, and fully in
keeping with the striking personality of the author.
—The Nottingham Journal, 8 November 1929.