"MY FRIEND OLIVER HADDO CLAIMS TO BE A MAGICIAN. I THINK HE IS QUITE SERIOUS": SOMERSET MAUGHAM'S THE MAGICIAN, BASED ON ALEISTER CROWLEY
MAUGHAM, W. Somerset. The Magician. London: William Heinemann, (1956). Small octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $350.
Later edition of this early Maugham novel—the author based the titular "magician" character on Aleister Crowley—the first edition to appear with Maugham's "A Fragment of Autobiography" describing his interactions as a young man with Crowley in Paris as a Preface.
Notorious "magician" and Satanist Aleister Crowley served as the model for the character Oliver Haddo in The Magician. "Though Aleister Crowley served as the model for Oliver Haddo, it is by no means a portrait of him. I made my character more striking in appearance, more sinister and more ruthless than Crowley ever was. I gave him magical powers that Crowley, though he claimed them, certainly never possessed. Crowley, however, recognized himself in the creature of my invention, for such it was, and wrote a full-page review of the novel in Vanity Fair, which he signed 'Oliver Haddo'" (Preface). First published in 1908, this novel was reissued with Maugham's new preface as part of the publisher's "Collected Edition" of Maugham's works, though each volume was offered separately. Stott A11e.
Book fine; dust jacket spine only very slightly toned, clean, bright, and very nearly fine.