The Books of The Beast
Timothy d’Arch Smith
Subjects: Aleister Crowley/Crowleyiana/Publishing History/Antiquarian Books/Occult.
Timothy d’Arch Smith is a well-known bibliographer, reviewer and antiquarian bookseller with a special interest in the by-ways of literature, notably the occult and the curious.
For Aleister Crowley a book was a talisman and their every part right down to colour, dimension, and price was symbolic. He also used magical techniques to gain literary success–thus new editions of Crowley’s writing multiply daily, tantalizing the bibliographer. All the more indispensable is this authoritative guide to his magical first editions.
Timothy d’Arch Smith, widely acknowledged as a leading expert on Crowley and on underground literature, offers several shorter articles on:
*Oxford’s demonologist Montague Summers;
*R A Caton and his Fortune Press;
*Sexual prophet Ralph Chubb;
*The British Library Private Case;
*and Timothy d’Arch Smith.
*For this new edition, he also adds an extra chapter on Crowley.
”…one could hardly wish for a more stimulating guide…” –The London Magazine
”One of the more immediately striking things about the book is its gentle humour.”- Time Out
The Books of The Beast. Timothy d’Arch Smith. (Mandrake).
The author of this collection of studies of twentieth-century occultists is a well-known antiquarian bookseller, bibliographer and reviewer with a life-long interest in esoterica and erotica. This collection has a bibliography of Crowley that gives the book its title and biographies of the Roman Catholic priest, playwright, schoolmaster, collector of homoerotic pornography, demonologist and closet Satanist, Montague Summers, the eccentric R.A. Caton, who shared Summer’s interest in young boys and was briefly his publisher, Ralph Chubb, writer, artist and pederast who tried to create a new religion based on the worship of a boy-god, and pioneering female occultist Florence Farr of The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn. There is also an account of Crowley’s disguised appearance as a character in Anthony Powell’s famous novel A Dance to the Music of Time (1951), one of many he made in fictional works, and a description of the private collection of erotica in the British Library. The book concludes with a fascinating autobiographical epilogue on the author’s adventures in the London occult scene of the 1950s and 1960s. These feature Michael Houghton from the Atlantis Bookshop (compared by the author to Grumpy in Walt Disney’s Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs because of his stature and demeanour!), Crowley’s forgotten biographer and cricket fan Charles Richard Cammel, who died during a Test Match at the Oval (what a way to go!), the writer and biographer Jean Overton Fuller, the Beatles (who attended a witchcraft exhibition organised by the author), and Crowley follower Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Highly recommended.
The Cauldron # 136, May 2010.