was, in fact, an appreciation of my genius such as I had never
dreamed of inspiring. It showed me how sublime were my ambitions
and reassured me on a point which sometimes worried me
— whether my work was
worth while in a worldly sense. I had at times feared lest,
superbly as my science had satisfied my own soul, it might yet
miss the mark of making mankind master of its destiny.
Well, Maugham had had his
fun with me; I would have mine with him. I wrote an article for
Vanity Fair (December 30th, 1908) in which I disclosed
the method by which the book had been manufactured and gave
parallel passages. Frank Harris would not believe that I was
serious. He swore I must be making it up. He could not believe
that any man would have the impudence to publish such strings of
plagiarism. I had to bring a little library round to the office
to prove my proposition, and Harris sat and stared, and gasped
like a fish at each fresh outrage. He cut down the article to
two and a half pages, but even so it was the most damning
exposure of a literary crime that had ever been known. No author
of even mediocre repute had ever risked his reputation by such
Maugham took my riposte in
good part. We met by chance a few weeks later, and he merely
remarked that there were many thefts besides those which I had
pointed out. I told him that Harris had cut down my article by
two thirds for lack of space. "I almost wish", I said, "that you
were an important writer."
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Pages 571-572.