"THE WORLD IS OLD, AND I AM STRONG— AWAKE, AWAKE, O SWORD OF SONG!"
CROWLEY, Aleister. The Sword of Song, Called by Christians the Book of the Beast. Benares: Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, 1904. Tall quarto, mid-20th-century green cloth. $1200.
First edition of Crowley's first great talismanic book.
This Crowleyan compendium foreshadows The Book of the Law, and includes satires of Robert Browning, Kabalistic journeys on the tree of life, essays on philosophy and religion—"Berashith" and "Science and Buddhism"—and bawdy in-jokes. Crowley wrote parts of the book while delirious with malaria. "Colorful, eccentric, flamboyant, and deliberately shocking… Crowley's principal concerns consisted of his researches into ways of accelerating human evolution through increasing human intelligence by techniques of concentrating the mind one-pointedly, stimulating the central nervous system, and maximizing and mapping hitherto unexplored regions of the brain… Unfortunately, his concerns led to a campaign of vilification in the press and Crowley was dubbed the 'wickedest man in the world'" (DNB). Yorke notes ten copies were issued first in red paper wrappers; the balance of the edition was issued in dark blue and gold paper wrappers. No wrappers present in this rebound copy. Yorke 16. Bookplate. Pencil gift inscription. Pencil marginalia to page 159.
Occasional inoffensive foxing. First few leaves lightly creased. Cloth generally clean with light rubbing to spine ends; front joint starting, binding sound. Scarce.