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ORACLES


 

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Title:

Oracles. The Biography of an Art.  Unpublished Fragments of the Work of Aleister Crowley with Explanatory Notes by R.P. Lester and the Author.

   

Cover

 

Lower Cover

 

Spine

 

Inner Cover

 

Title Page

 

Order Form

 

S.P.R.T. Catalog

Print
Variations
:

State (a):

1 copy printed on vellum.1
 

This copy currently resides in the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas (Call No. PR 6005 R7 O72 1905).1

Bound by Zaehnsdorf in panelled red morocco leather.2

‘BOUND BY ZAEHNSDORF’ stamped at bottom of inside upper cover.7

Upper and Lower covers have a double frame stamped in gilt.7

Spine with five raised bands stamped in gilt | [rule] | [double frame] | [raised band with a series of dots horizontally through the center] | [single frame stamped within ‘ORACLES’ | [raised band with a series of dots horizontally through the center] | [double frame] | [raised band with a series of dots horizontally through the center] | [single frame stamped within ‘CROWLEY’ | [raised band with a series of dots horizontally through the center] | [double frame] | [raised band with a series of dots horizontally through the center] |  [double frame] | [single frame stamped within ‘1905’ |7

Spine is stamped in gilt ‘ORACLES | CROWLEY | 1905’. 
Interior has dentelles on border-doublures with  panels of beige silk and facing half linings also of beige silk.2 

Double lines stamped in gilt on all outside edges of upper and lower covers.7

8 7/8” x 5 5/8”2

State (b):

500 copies printed on machine-made paper.3
Pages unopened and uncut.
2
Bound in green camel’s hair wrappers.3
Spine lettered in white vertically down the spine ‘ORACLES ALEISTER CROWLEY’.
2 

8 7/8” x 5 5/8”.2
 
Publisher: Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth (S.P.R.T.).4  
Printer:    
Published At: Boleskine, Foyers, Inverness.4  
Date: 1905.4  
Edition: 1st Edition.  
Pages:

viii + 176 + 14 pages advertisements [SPRT catalog] + ii pages detachable order form.2

 
Price:

Priced at 5 shillings.3

 

Remarks:

Apparently Crowley had planned to publish a special limited edition of Oracles as indicated in an S.P.R.T. catalog:  Oracles:  the Biography of an Art.  Special limited edition of one hundred copies only, containing important additional matter, privately printed on hand-made paper.  Two Guineas net.  Write for our special prospectus.’  Unfortunately, this publication never materialized.8

 

The poems
- Ode to Sappho
- In a Lesbian Meadow
-
’Tis Pity
- My Wife Dies
- The Nativity
- All Night
- Ode to Venus Callipyge
- The Blood Lotus
- Translations from Baudelaire

- Epilogue to
Green Alps
were originally meant to appear in Crowley's ill-fated collection of poems Green Alps,5 which was never published having been destroyed by fire at the printer
s.6  

 
Pagination:2
Page(s)  
[   i] Half title
[   ii] Blank
[   iii] Title page
[   iv] Blank
[   v] Explanatory note
[   vi] Blank
[vii-viii] Contents
[1-175] Text
[  176] Blank
[1-14] Advertisement.  Excerpt A - From the Catalogue.  The Works of Mr Aleister Crowley + “A Career for the Essay”.
[i-ii] Detachable form.  [side 1] A List of the Works of Aleister Crowley”,  [side 2] Order form for The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley.
 
Contents:
- The Death of a Drunkard
- The Balloon
- Spolia Opima
- Lines on Being Invited to Meet the Premier in Wales, September 92
- A Peep Behind the Scenes
- To Mrs. O——N C——T
- Elvina
- A Welcome to Jabez
- The Little Half-Sovereign
- Adaptation of “Onward Christian Soldiers” to the Needs of Brethren
- Ode to Sappho
- In a Lesbian Meadow
- ’Tis Pity
- My Wife Dies
- The Nativity
- All Night
- Ode to Venus Callipyge
- The Blood-Lotus
- Translations from Baudelaire
- Epilogue to Green Alps
- Invocation
- A Litany
- Call of the Slyphs
- Chaldean Fools
- Hermit’s Hymn to Solitude
- The Storm
- Hymn to Apollo
- Venus
- Assumpta Canidia
- Night in the Valley
- March in the Tropics
- Metempsychosis
- Advice of a Letter
- On Waikiki Beach
- The Dance of Shiva
- Sonnet for a Picture
- The House
- Anima Lunae
- The Triads of Despair
- Sabbe Pi Dukkan
- Dhammapada
- St. Patrick’s Day 1902
- The Earl’s Quest
- Eve
- The Sibyl
- La Coureuse
- To Elizabeth
- Sonnets for a Picture
- Rondels at Monte Carlo
- In the Great Pyramid of Ghizeh
- The Hills
 

Author’s
Working
Versions:

 

Bound holograph manuscript and typescript with revisions in the hand of Aleister Crowley.  Pages:  207.  Dated:  1893-1902.  Box 8, Folder 2.  Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX.

 

Other
Known
Editions:

+

The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley, Vol. II, Page 10, Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, Boleskine, Foyers, Inverness, 1906.

 
Bibliographic
Sources:
1. Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
2. 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. 45.
3. L. C. R. Duncombe-Jewell, Notes Towards An Outline of A Bibliography of the Writings in Prose and Verse of Aleister Crowley, The Works of Aleister Crowley, Volume III, Appendix A, Gordon Press, New York, 1974, p. 239.  
4. Ibid, p. 238.
5. Aleister Crowley, Oracles.  The Autobiography of an Art, S.P.R.T., Boleskine, Foyers, Inverness, p. 21.
6. Timothy d'Arch Smith, The Books of the Beast,  Mandrake, Oxford; 1991, p. 25.
7. Personal observation of the item. 
8. “Excerpt A - From the Catalogue.  The Works of Mr Aleister Crowley” Bound in at the rear of Oracles: the Biography of an Art, Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, circa 1905, p. 10
 

Comments by
Aleister
Crowley:

     So when it came to my writing poetry myself, my work fell naturally into three divisions. Firstly, short lyrics modelled on the hymns to which I was accustomed; secondly, parodies, principally of Scottish and English songs; and thirdly, epics based on Sir Walter Scott. I must have written over a hundred thousand lines. They have all been destroyed; and I am rather sorry for it. While they possessed no merit, their contents would afford a valuable key to my thoughts at the time. The few fragments which escaped destruction were reprinted in my Oracles.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 82.

______________________________
 

     My activities as a publisher were at this time remarkable. I had issued The God-Eater and The Star & the Garter through Charles Watts & Co. of the Rationalist Press Association, but there was still no such demand for my books as to indicate that I had touched the great heart of the British public. I decided that it would save trouble to publish them myself. I decided to call myself the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, and issued The Argonauts, The Sword of Song, the Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King, Why Jesus Wept, Oracles, Orpheus, Gargoyles and The Collected Works.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 406.

 
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