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THE WORLD’S TRAGEDY


 

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Title:

The World’s Tragedy.

   

Upper Cover

 

Lower Cover

 

Turned-In Cover Detail

 

Title Page

 

Dedication

 

Book Catalog

 

Page xxvii

 

Page xxviii

 

Print
Variations
:

100 copies7 printed on Van Gelder6 hand-made paper.
Pages unopened.2
Bound in limp white vellum turned-in covers.2
Upper cover stamped in gilt with an eye of Horus in a rayed triangle and lettered in red ‘THE | WORLD’S TRAGEDY’.2
Lower cover has an ornament stamped in red.2
Spine lettered vertically up the spine in red ‘THE WORLD’S TRAGEDY’.2
9” x 6 1/2”.2
 
Publisher: Privately published.  
Printer: Philippe Renouard, 19 Rue des Sainta-Peres.3, 6  
Published At: Paris.1  
Date: 1910.1  
Edition: 1st Edition.  
Pages:

viii + xlviii + 139 + i + 3 pages of advertisements + i.2

 
Price:

Priced at 42 shillings or Two Guineas as stated on the half-title page.5

 
Remarks:

Written during a five-day period in February 1908.4

Title page is printed in red and black.5 
It’s said that pages xxvii and xxviii of most copies were mutilated to erase the homosexual references contained on the pages.6

 
Pagination:2
Page(s)  
[i-ii] Blanks
[  iii] Half-title
[  iv] Blank
[  v] Title-page
[  vi] Blank
[  vii] Dedication
[  viii] Blank
[I-XXXVII] Preface
[XXXVIII] Blank
[XXXIX-XLIII] Proem
[XLIV] Blank
[XLV] Fly-title
[XLVI] Blank
[XLVII] Persons of the play
[XLVIII] Blank
[  1] Divisional title ‘PROLOGUE | THE GARDEN OF EROS’
[  2] Blank
[3-31] Prologue
[  32] Blank
[  33] Divisional title ‘I | THE RED STAR’
[  34] Blank
[35-57] Text
[  58] Blank
[  59] Divisional title ‘II | THE WHITE WIND’
[  60] Blank
[61-71] Text
[  72] Blank
[  73] Divisional title ‘III | THE BLUE DWARF’
[  74] Blank
[75-97] Text
[  98] Blank
[  99] Divisional title ‘IV | THE BLACK BEAN’
[100] Blank
[101-114] Text
[115] Divisional title ‘V | THE GREY NIGHT’
[116] Blank
[117-138] Text
[139] ‘EXPLICIT | TRAGŒDIA MUNDI’
[140] Blank
[141-143] Advertisements
[144] Blank
 
Contents:

- Preface
- Proem
- Prologue - The Garden of Eros
- I - The Red Star
- II - The White Wind
- III - The Blue Dwarf
- IV - The Black Bean
- V - The Grey Night

 

Author’s
Working
Versions:

1. Holograph manuscript with revisions in the hand of Aleister Crowley.  Pages:  146.  Box 13, Folder 8.  Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX.
 

Other
Known
Editions:

+ (Preface Only) Morton Press, London, No Date.
+ Falcon Press, Arizona, 1985.
+ New Falcon Press, Arizona, 1991.
 
Bibliographic
Sources:
1.

Gerald J. Yorke, Bibliography of the Works of Aleister Crowley in John Symonds The Great Beast, Rider and Co., London & New York, 1951, p. 303.

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. 86-87. 
3. Aleister Crowley, The Scented Garden of Abdullah the satirist of Shiraz, The Teitan Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1991, p. 9.
4. Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969, p. 558.
5. Personal observation of the item.
6. Timothy d’Arch Smith, The Books of the Beast,  Mandrake, Oxford; 1991, p. 30.
7. Keith Hogg, 666 Bibliotheca Crowleyana.  The Collection of J.F.C. Fuller, Sure Fire Press, Edmonds, Washington, 1989, p. 10.
 

Comments by
Aleister
Crowley:

     I had thus no difficulty at school as far as lessons were concerned, but in my three years at Champney’s I had no lack of trouble; the nature of this can only be understood if I adduce a few facts to indicate the atmosphere. I used to tell people about my school life and met with such consistent incredulity that I made a little collection of incidents in the preface to my The World’s Tragedy.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 63.

______________________________
 

     My twelve months of creative spurt reached a climax in February 1908, when I wrote the five books of The World’s Tragedy in five consecutive days at Eastbourne. This is beyond all question the high-water mark of my imagination, my metrical fluency, my wealth of expression, and my power of bringing together the most incongruous ideas so as to enrich my matter to the utmost. At the same time, I succeeded in reaching the greatest height of spiritual enthusiasm, human indignation, and demoniac satire. I sound the gamut of every possibility of emotion from innocent faith and enthusiasm to experienced cynicism.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 5
58.

______________________________
 

     I went back to Paris on July 8th. I worked on Clouds Without Water, Sir Palamedes, The World’s Tragedy and “Mr. Todd”. In particular, I wrote the autobiographical preface to The World’s Tragedy, some ten thousand words, at a stretch; and certain lyrics, mostly about Dorothy, of whom more in a moment. “Mr. Todd”, as the name implies, is a personification of death an the idea of the play is to introduce him as deus ex machina, helping the characters one by one out of their various troubles. The idea sounds a good one, but apart from availing myself of my opportunities for double entendre (“I was told the other day that he held a lot of land in London and has more tenants than the Duke of Westminster!”), I could not make much of it. The repetition of the idea was bound to be rather ridiculous. It is my one failure in this period.
     The truth doubtless is that I had used up the energy accumulated in my wanderings, and written myself out: i.e., as far as anything big was concerned. I was in excellent form with lyrics and wrote several as good as anything I had ever done. In particular “After Judgment”, to the honour and glory of Dorothy, will stand in English literature as one of the most passionate poems in the language.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Pages 573-574.

 
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