on 19 August 2012
Crowley wrote the book during a stay at his Highland home, Boleskine, on the banks of Loch Ness, after his wife Rose gave birth to their daughter Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith Crowley, on 28th July 1904. Crowley and his friends whom he invited to stay: his physician Dr. Percival Bott, who joined the party in readiness for Rose's confinement; Gerald Kelly (1879-1972) the artist and brother to Crowley's wife Rose; Ivor Gordon Back (1879-1951), a friend of Aleister's and Gerald's from their Cambridge University days. Ivor was editing Crowley's `Collected Works' at the time and he later became a surgeon at St. George's Hospital, London. Crowley's Aunt Annie also attended and looked after the household while the men enjoyed the Highland delights of salmon fishing, shooting, climbing (Crowley taught Bott and Back the rudiments of climbing), playing billiards and the Laird's (Crowley's) wine cellar! Rose, in her convalescence was bored and so Aleister decided to entertain her by writing a `suitable book for her'. He wrote a chapter a day on his typewriter and read what he wrote to the rest of the party, except his Aunt Annie! - `Ivor and I, with some assistance from Gerald, collected such of these manuscripts as had not been destroyed, and with `The Nameless Novel', we composed a volume to carry on the literary form of White Stains [Aleister Crowley. 1898] and Alice [Aleister Crowley. 1905]; that is, we invented a perpetrator for the atrocities.' [Confessions. Aleister Crowley]
And so the book begins with an account of its imaginary author's life; the author, who is only known by the letter `K', we are told by an un-named editor who stole the manuscript, was born around 1860 in a `hunting shire of England' to parents who were reasonably well off to enjoy a life of leisure. `K' is a delicate and religious youth whom his tutors respect for his learning. After taking Holy Orders, he gains a Chaplaincy in Paris where he is accepted and honoured for his work amongst the poor. During the many hours of idleness he composes `hymns' and spends his evenings at a restaurant known as the `Au Chien Rouge' with the celebrated artists who frequent the place [Crowley is here thinking of the `Chat Blanc' in the Rue d'Odessa, where he enjoyed many an evening in the year 1902].
`K' gives himself sexually to a `boat-captain on a Seine steamer' and after marrying a young and beautiful English woman, they honeymoon in Cairo [Crowley is on familiar ground as he and Rose spent their honeymoon in Cairo]. The couple go to the notorious `T - Club' and there are soldiers, fish porters and all the good and bad of Egyptian society indulging in orgiastic behaviour. It is here that `K's' wife is violated numerous times!
Then we come to the `Nameless Novel' itself which is about an archbishop and his obscene atrocities which defy belief. Then we are treated to the `Juvenilia', poems which include: `The needs of the Navy', `After the Fall: a page from the Book of the Recording Angel' and `The Parson's Prayer'. Then from the `Bromo Book' we have: `Long before dawn', `Stephanos', `To Pe or not to Pe', `Home thoughts from abroad', `One way of love', `Outside the Spanish Cloisters', and `Force'. Then come the Limericks: `The sailor ashore', `Triolets', `Birthday Ode', `Rosa Mystica', `Celia', `The automatic girl', Micturating Mary' and `The poet abroad'.
The book is an interesting example of pornographic literature and `schoolboy humour' written merely as an exercise to amuse his wife Rose. Crowley invented many new words and phrases but its only real value is as a `period piece' for Crowley students and scholars. Its content fails to titillate but be warned as it does include such content as incest, torture, necrophilia, coprophagia, cannibalism, sodomy... you get the idea, all the things that put the `Great' in Great Britain! Crowley said about the book in his `Confessions' that `my object is not merely to disgust but to root out ruthlessly the sense of sin!' Not a bad endeavour! Humorous and degrading and jolly good fun! Enjoy!