myself made extensive and elaborate studies of the effects of
indulgence in stimulants and narcotics. (See my
Psychology of Hashish, Cocaine,
Green Goddess, The Diary of a Drug Fiend
etc.) I have a vast quantity of unpublished data. I am convinced
that personal idiosyncrasy counts for more in this matter than
all the other factors put together. The philosophical phlegmatic
temperament of the Chinese finds opium sympathetic. But the
effect of opium on a vivacious, nervous, mean, cowardly
Frenchman, on an Englishman with his congenital guilty
conscience or on an American with his passion for pushing
everything to extremes is very different; the drug is almost
certain to produce disaster.
—The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Page 490.
the Yi King in May of 1922 what would happen to me in
England, whither I was bound. I got the 21st Hexagram, which
means the open manifestation of one’s purpose. I was, in fact,
able to re-enter public life after years of seclusion. It means
“union by gnawing”, which I understood as bidding me to expect
to spend my time in persevering efforts to establish relations
with various people who could be useful to me, but not to expect
to drop into success or to find the obstacles insuperable. This,
too, came true. The comment in the Yi King promises
successful progress and advises recourse to law. My progress was
beyond my utmost hopes and I found myself forced to begin
several lawsuits. The further comment describes the successive
phases of the affair. The first phase shows its subject fettered
and without resource. During my first month in England I was
penniless, without proper clothes to wear, and obliged to walk
miles to save the cost of a telephone call or an omnibus. In the
second phase one suddenly finds everything easy. All one’s plans
succeed. This, too, occurred. The third phase shows a man
getting to grips with the real problems; he meets some rebuffs,
has some disappointments, but makes no mistakes. The third stage
of my campaign could not be better described. In phase four one
gets down to work at one’s task, aided by financial advances and
contracts to do work of the kind one wants. This was fulfilled
by my being commissioned to write The Diary of a Drug Fiend
and the present book, as well as several things for the
— The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Pages 630-631.
string was to publish new books. Sullivan had suggested my
trying Grant Richards, firstly with a plan for marketing the
existing stock, and secondly with a proposal to write my
memoirs. He promised to put in a good word for me as he knew
Grant Richards well and was influential as being a man of sound
business and literary judgment. I therefore called and made my
proposals. But after some consideration, Grant Richards could
not see his way to accept my terms. I think we were both
reluctant to part; and one night I was inspired to try him with
a third artificial minnow. I would write a shocker on the
subject which was catering to the hysteria and pururience of the
sex-crazed public: the drug traffic insanity. It provided a much
needed variation from the “white slave” traffic. I proposed as a
title The Diary of a Drug Fiend and sketched out a
synopsis of its contents on a sheet of notepaper. This was
mostly bluff. I had not really any clear idea of my story. I
took this round to Grant Richards, who said it was not in his
line. I asked him to suggest a likely firm. He said Hutchinson
or Collins. Neither name meant anything to me. I gave Collins
the first chance simply because he was on my way home.
Invited to interview the responsible man, I found myself
wondering who he was — I had surely met him before. He shared my
feeling and was the first to discover the source. Over fifteen
years earlier he had been on the staff of a paper called
What’s On belonging to my old acquaintance Robert Haslam and
at one time edited by poor crazy Dartnell.
The gods had certainly started a new drama. The accident of this
man, J. D. Beresford his name is, being the literary advisor of
Collins probably made all the difference to the fate of the
book. The synopsis was accepted enthusiastically and I obtained
the pledges of money and advances, as per the “Yi” forecast, to
the extend of a sixty-pound advance and a contract on much
better terms than a new author could have hoped.
I contracted to deliver the manuscript within a month. My idea
was to rush the book through as a suitable for holiday reading.
I wired to Paris for the Ape, who hurried over. We sat down at
once to work. She takes my dictation in long hand, and it was
therefore some “stunt” to have written the 121,000 words in 27
days, 12 3/4 hours. Mrs Marshall, the best typist I ever
employed — she had worked for me off and on since ’98 — could
hardly believe her eyes as one stack of manuscript came tumbling
on the top of another. It gave me a chance to boost the Law of Thelema. I was able to show how the application of the
principles increases efficiency as the profane deem impossible.
Beresford was delighted with the manuscript and in high hopes of
making a big hit. Unfortunately, my plan for publishing the book
in August was not adopted. For various reasons they kept it
hanging about till November. This annoyed me greatly. I expected
its publication to arouse a tempest in the teapot around which
the old women of criticism nod and talk scandal. I wanted to be
on the spot when the fur began to fly, so as to give as good as
I got. However, the gods have their own ideas.
— The Confessions of Aleister
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Pages 895-896.
The Diary of a Drug Fiend and my autohagiography I had
contracted with Collins for the publication of Simon Iff.
By this they pledged themselves to pay me an advance equivalent
to the subscription sales of The Drug Fiend. They
promised to let me have this before November 9th.
— The Confessions of Aleister
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Page 910.