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WHITE STAINS


 

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Title:

White Stains.  The Literary Remains of George Archibald Bishop, A Neuropath of the Second Empire.

   

Upper Cover

 

Lower Cover

 

Interior Cover

 

Cover / Spine

 

Spine

 

Title Page

 

Limitation Page

 

Print
Variations:

100 copies1 printed on Van Gelder10 laid paper
Pages opened, but uncut.
2 
Bound in black cloth.
2
Upper cover lettered in white
WHITE STAINS’2
Spine has an ankh design in white.
2 
Some copies are numbered.4
8 3/4” x 7 1/8”.2

______________________________
 

One proof copy rebound in full maroon crushed levant morocco leather.6
Gilt borders and dentelles.6

Top edge gilt.6

 ______________________________
 

One copy on handmade Van Gelder paper bound in cream wrappers.9

Large W printed on upper wrapper.9

 

 
Publisher: Leonard Charles Smithers.7  
Printer: Binger Brothers.7  Typesetting done by a Duth firm, Roeloffzen & Hubner.10  
Published At: Amsterdam.7  
Date: Around May 1898.8  
Edition: 1st Edition.  
Pages: iv + 132.2  
Price:    
Remarks: Many copies of this book are believed to have been destroyed by H.M. customs.1
10 to 15 copies of this book are known to have been in possession of Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld Jones) in 1920 as part of a large shipment of books sent to him in America by Crowley.5
Copy # 69 of 100 went to J.F.C. Fuller with an inscription by Crowley which read “To John Charles Frederick Fuller lest himself leave ‘literary remains.’
3
 
Pagination:2
Page(s)  
[  i] Half-title
[  ii] Limitation notice
iii] Title-page
[  iv] Quotation “Une nouvelle Phèdre à lui moins dure”
[  1] Note:  “The editor hopes that Mental Pathologists, for whose eyes alone this treatise is destined, will spare no precaution to prevent it falling into other hands”
[  2] Blank
[3 - 4] Contents
[5 - 16] Preface
[17 - 131] Text
[132] Blank
 
Contents:

- Dédicace
- Prefatory: Sonnet to the Virgin Mary
- A Fragment
- The Rainbow
- With a Copy of ‘Poems and Ballads’
- Ad Lydiam, Ut Secum a Marito Fugeret
- Contra Conjugium T. B. B.
- A Ballad of Choosing
- A Jealous Lover
- Ballade de la Jolie Marion
- At Stockholm
- Mathilde
- Yet Time to Turn
- All Night
- Ode to Venus Callipyge
- Volupté
- Rondels
- Ad Lucium
- A Paean in the Springtide
- To J. L. D.
- A Ballad of Passive Paederasty
- To A.D.
- At Kiel
- Suggested additional Stanzas for ‘A Ballad of Burdens’
- ‘Go into the Highways and Hedges, and complete them to come in’
- The Blood-Lotus
- To my First-born
- Cahnt au Saint-Esprit
- Victory
- Sleeping in Carthage
- With Dog and Dame
- Έρμαφροδίτου ”Οναρ
- Erebus
- La Juive
- Necrophilia
- ”Αβυσμος

 

Author’s
Working
Versions:

   

Other
Known
Editions:

   
Bibliographic
Sources:
1. 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. 49.  
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, pp. 4-5. 
3.

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.  (Call Number - PR 6005 R7 W45 1898 - Copy 1)

4.

Weiser Antiquarian Books, Catalog # 134, “Aleister Crowley.  Used and Rare Books and Ephemera.”

5. Richard Kaczynski, Ph.D., Panic in Detroit:  The Magician and the Motor City, Blue Equinox Oasis, Royal Oak, Michigan, 2006, pp. 65-66.
6. Timothy d’Arch Smith, Aleister Crowley’s Aceldama (1898):  The A B Copy’, Book Collector, 56, 2 (Summer 2007), p. 221.
7. Richard Kaczynski, Ph.D., Perdurabo:  The Life of Aleister Crowley, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, 2010, p. 49.
8. Ibid., p. 582.

9.

Neil Pearson Rare Books, Bookseller Inventory # 1314.

Internet resource:  http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=7688988672&searchurl=bi%3D0%26ds%3D30%26bx%3Doff%26sortby%3D1%26tn%3Dwhite+stains%26an%3Dcrowley%26recentlyadded%3Dall, last accessed on 2 August 2015.

10. Timothy d’Arch Smith, The Books of the Beast, Mandrake, Oxford, 1991, p. 24.
 

Comments by
Aleister
Crowley:

     My essential spirituality is made manifest by yet another publication, which stands as a testimony of my praeterhuman innocence. The book is called White Stains and 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 the mind in the most extraordinary fashion.
     The facts are as follows: In the course of my reading I had come across von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis. The professor tries to prove that sexual aberrations are the result of disease. I did not agree. I thought that I was able to understand the psychology involved; I thought that the acts were merely magical affirmations of perfectly intelligible points of view. I said to myself that I must confute the professor. I could only do this by employing the one form at my disposal: the artistic form. I therefore invented a poet who went wrong, who began with normal and innocent enthusiasms, and gradually developed various vices. He ends by being stricken with disease and madness, culminating in murder. In his poems he describes his downfall, always explaining the psychology of each act.
     The conclusions of the book might therefore be approved in any Sunday School and its metaphysics is orthodox from the point of view of the theologian. 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. Indeed, now that I do understand that vile minds think it a vile book, I recognize with grim satisfaction that Psychopathia Sexualis itself has attained its enormous popularity because people love to gloat over such things. Its scientific form has not protected it from abuse, any more than the artistic form of my own reply to it. But von Krafft-Ebing has not been blackguarded as I have. The average man cannot believe that an artist may be as serious and highminded an observer of life as the professed man of science.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 139

______________________________
 

     I cannot bring myself to believe that anything which is going on at the present time has any real existence. It is a meaningless letter in a word and its value depends on the rest of the letters. “A” and “O” are in themselves mere varieties of breathing, yet one helps to make “hag”, and the other “hog”—one “cot”, and the other “cat”. Unless I know the consonants I cannot tell whether I need an “a” or an “o”.
     Now this perception is obvious to everybody, yet everybody acts as if he knew exactly what would be the result of writing “a” instead of “o”, assuming that he is free to choose which he will do—which he isn’t. But I bring this principle into my life; it governs me in every action outside my regular reflexes. I am really aware that I do not know whether it would be to my advantage to be hanged. I have only attained to a standard of conduct by referring all my judgments to my will, and until I knew what my true will was, I was utterly at sea.
     To apply these ideas to the issue which we are discussing. I knew that a poet is incapable of recognizing his best work, but I knew also that though good technique does not mean good work bad technique does mean bad work. So I used to experiment with new forms by choosing a ridiculous or obscene subject, lest I should be tempted to publish a poem whose technique showed inexperience.
     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 Curate’s Garden) to carry on the literary form of White Stains and Alice; that is, we invented a perpetrator for the atrocities.
     I do now know what mischievous whim induced me to have the book printed, but I was absolutely innocent of any desire to rival the exploit of Alfred de Musset and George Sand, the Femmes and Hombres of Verlain, or the jeu d’esprit of Mark Twain of which Sir Walter Raleigh is the hero. I did not even hope to get the British government to give me a pension of four thousand pounds a year, as id did to John Cleland.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 413.

______________________________
 

     Another seed of the past began to bear fruit at this time. I had never attempted to transmit my occult knowledge as such. I had never attempted to write prose, as such, apart from short accounts of my climbs, with the exception of the preface to White Stains (Collected Works, vol. II, pp. 195-8). Berashith was my first serious attempt at an essay. That and “Science and Buddhism” were followed by a jeu d’esprit on Shakespeare (Collected Works, vol. II, pp. 185-90); “Pansil” (vol. II, pp. 192-4); “After Agnosticism” (vol. II, pp. 206-8); “Ambrosii Magi Hortus Rosarum” (vol. II, pp. 212-24); “The Three Characteristics” (vol. II, pp. 225-32; “The Excluded Middle” (vol. II, pp. 262-6); “Time” (vol. II, pp. 267-82); “The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic” (vol. II, pp. 203-4); “Qabalistic Dogma” (vol. I, pp. 265-6); the introduction to Alice, An Adultery (vol. II, pp. 58-61). Some of the ghazals of the Bagh-i-Muattar are in prose, as well as the preliminary matter; and there is Eleusis (vol. III, pp. 219-30).
     Most of these were written from a very curious point of view. It was not exactly that I had my tongue in my cheek, but I took a curious pleasure in expressing serious opinions in a fantastic form. I had an instinctive feeling against prose; I had not appreciated its possibilities. Its apparent lack of form seemed to me to stamp it as an essentially inferior means of expression. I wrote it, therefore, in a rather shamefaced spirit. I deliberately introduced bad jokes to show that I did not take myself seriously; whereas the truth was I was simply nervous about my achievement, just as a man afraid to disgrace himself as a boxer might pretend that the bout was not in earnest. My prose is consequently marred by absolutely stupid blasphemies against itself.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 536-537.

______________________________
 

     Even this did not exhaust my creative energy. As in Cairo in 1902 I had started the “Lover’s Alphabet”, on the ground that the most primitive kind of lyrics or odes was in some way the most appealing and immortal, so I decided to write a series of hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the simplest possible style. I must not be thought exactly insincere, though I had certainly no shadow of belief in any of the Christian dogmas, least of all in this adaptation and conglomeration of Isis, Semele, Astarte, Cybele, Freya, and so many others; I simply tried to see the world through the eyes of a devout Catholic, very much as I had done with the decadent poet of White Stains, the Persian mystic of the Bagh-i-Muattar, and so on. I was, in fact, adopting another alias—in the widest sense of the word.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 559.

 
Reviews:

White Stains, the literary remains of George Archibald Bishop, a neuropath of the Second Empore, (n. p. London), 1898.

 

Small quarto, 131 pp.

 

On the back of the title pages these words are printed:  “Un nouveau Phedre a lui moins dure.”  What this means is not explained in the volume, and the accent on the name of the incestuous heroine is wrongly placed.  Then we have the following lines: “The editor hopes that mental Pathologists, for whose eyes alone this treatise is destined, will spare no precaution to prevent it falling into other hands.”  Why the word “treatise” is used, I do not know, unless it be to keep up the mad character of the work, which is nothing more than a volume of obscene, blasphemous, and shamelessly filthy poetry, devoted to the glorification of unnatural vices of all kinds.  It seems that only 100 copies were struck off, and it is a pity that so much talent should have been wasted upon a clever mystification, for I refuse to take the book seriously, notwithstanding that there is a preface of infinite violence, giving a sketch of the life of the mythical author, who is supposed to have died mad:

He was commited [sic] to an asylum, for there could no longer be any doubt of his complete insanity; for three weeks he had been raving with a synthe, and satyriasis.  He survived his confinement no long time; the burning of the asylum with its inmates was one of the most horrible events of the war of 1870.

I should like to know the address of that asylum, of which I never heard, nor can any of my contemporaries call to mind the conflagration in question.

This wonderful manuscript came to his mistress, whose name is given in full, and she contracted a terrible disease in the last few days of her life with him.  This shock, mingled with her splendid lover’s sequestration in a madhouse, unhinges her mind as well, and she shoots herself on July 5, 1869.  It is a great satisfaction for the reader to know this date, I should say.

There are about three dozen poems, where it will be found that the writer has cleverly parodied the style of the masters of the fleshy school, besides some others whose manner will be easily recognized by the general reader.  A few of the poems are in very bad French.

“Ode to Venus Callipyge,” “A Ballad or Passive Paederasty,” and “Necrophilia,” are three of the most suggestive titles, and were I writing a prospectus to push the sales of this most remarkable and vile publication, I should add that none of the promises foreshadowed by the index are belied.  Those who can enjoy what may be called the clever dressing-up of dirt, will revel in this peculiar concoction, but for those who may not care to grace their library shelves with Mr. Bishop’s verses, I venture to print here one of his most singular effusions, as it treats of a combination that I have never yet seen described by any poet, and it will give some slight idea of the writer’s misdirected genius:

 

 

With Dog and Dame:  An October Idyl

 

The ways are golden with the leaves

That autumn blows about the air,

The trees sing anthems of despair,

And my fair mistress binds the sheaves

Of yellow hair more loose, and weaves

More subtly bars of song, that bear

Bright children of love debonair,

And laughter lightly comes, and reaves

The garland from our sorrow’s brow,

Life rises up, is girt with song,

Joy fills the cup, that flashes clear.

 

The year may fade in whispers now,

Shadow and silence now may throng

The seasons—we are happy here.

 

Autumn is on us as we lie

In creamy clouds of latticed light

That hint at darkness, but descry

A rosy flicker through the night,

My mistress, my great Dane, and I.

 

We linger in the dusk—her head

Lolls on the pillow, and my eyes

Catch rapture, as upon the bed

He licks her lazy lips, and tries

To tempt her tongue. My fires are fed.

 

Her heavy drooping breasts entice

My teeth to jewel them with blood,

Her hand prepares the sacrifice

She would desire of me, the flood

That wells from shrines of Paradise.

 

Her other hand is mischievous

To bid the monster Dane grow mad,

His red-haw gaze grows mutinous,

Her eyes have lost the calm they had,

My body grows all amorous.

 

My tongue within her mouth excites

Her dirtiest lust, her vilest dream;

Her greedy mouth her bosom bites;

He cannot hold, his eyeballs gleam;

He bums to consummate the rites.

 

I yield him place: his ravening teeth

Cling hard to her—he buries him

Insane and furious in the sheath

She opens for him—wide and dim

My mouth is amorous beneath.

 

Her lips devour me, and I rave

With pleasure to discern the love

They twain exert, my lips who lave

With double dew distilled above;

To dog and woman I am slave.

 

Nor move though now essays the Dane

To cool his weapon in my mouth;

Her lust bestrides me, and is fain

To quench in his sweet sweat her drouth

Her fingers probe my bowel again.

 

All three enjoy once more, and I

Am ready ever to renew

These bestial orgie-nights, whereby

Loose woman’s love is spiced, as dew

On tender spray of spring doth lie.

 

Like the cold moon to earth and sun

My mistress lingers in eclipse,

We wake her passion, either one

Licking each pouting pair of lips

Till new sweet streams of nectar run.

 

’Tis Autumn, and the dying breeze

Murmurs “embrace”; the moon replies

“Embrace”; the sighing of the trees

Calls us to linger loverwise,

And drain our passion to the lees.

 

’Tis Autumn.  The belated dove

Calls through the beeches, that bestir

Themselves to kiss the sky above,

As I will kiss with him and her,

Leave us, sweet Autumn, to our love.

      — Forbidden Books:  Notes and Gossip on Tabooed Literature.  By an Old Bibliophile, Paris, 1902.  Page 68 - 71.

 
       
   

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