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White Stains Paperback – 11 Sep 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (11 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440416192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440416194
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 753,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author

Aleister Crowley (born Edward Alexander Crowley; 12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947) was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion and philosophy of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Format: Paperback
First published in November 1898 in Amsterdam by the popular English publisher of erotic literature Leonard Charles Smithers (1861-1907) and printed by Binger brothers, `White Stains' remains a little known work of erotica outside of Crowley aficionados'. At the time of its publication (only 100 copies were printed, most of which were destroyed in 1924 by British Customs) Crowley was just twenty-three years old with the world before him as a man of quite a significant inheritance. Because of the book's content, Crowley had to issue `White Stains' or the `literary remains' under the authorship of George Archibald Bishop, a `Neuro-path of the Second Empire'. The name `Bishop' is a reference to Crowley's detested Uncle Tom Bishop, a devout member of the Plymouth Brethren, who looked after young `Alick' (Crowley) when his father Edward died in 1887.
`White Stains' was considered `the filthiest in the English language' by Mr Peter Fryer, an authority on erotica (Confessions. p.16), and the preface to the book leaves us with no doubt as to the orgiastic excess and debaucheries we are about to encounter: `The Editor hopes that Mental Pathologists, for whose eyes alone this treatise is destined will spare no precautions to prevent it falling into other hands.'
Many of the poems, which appear to be imitations of Baudelaire, Rimbaud and his beloved Swinburne, were written while Crowley was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge (1895-1898) and relate to some of his sexual escapades (though some are clearly products of a fertile imagination) during his vacations in Berlin, St Petersburg, Switzerland and Stockholm:

`What time for language, when our kisses flow
Eloquent, warm, as words are cold and weak? -
Or now - Ah!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The "filthiest book of verse ever written" begins with something of an apologia, with Crowley lauding the work of, amongst others, Algernon Charles Swinburne. Swinburne is the primary point of reference for Crowley's style - it's rhythmic and rhyming without breaking meter, and full of vivid imagery. But his muses are not varied; near enough every poem in here concerns stinging kisses, crucified messiahs and streams of desire. He simply finds new ways of combining and presenting them - different characters, different rhyme schemes, different levels of explicit. As to the latter, much of the vulgar content here is innuendo - Freud would have a field day with all the references to thrusting swords and fountains of pleasure - but there are moments where Crowley samples pleasures of near-Sadean extremes too. It's worth a read for those intrigued by a more carnal and perverse interpretation of love and sex since Crowley is an capable wordsmith, taking much pleasure in continuing the work of Swinburne, Baudelaire and Sade.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Aleister Crowley's first collection of verse was first published privately in 1898: the same year in which he jibbed sitting his final Degree at Cambridge and met Mr. SLM Mathers - head of the Order of The Golden Dawn. "White Stains" was originally issued in a limited run of 100 copies: most of which were seized by HM Customs and destroyed on the grounds of blasphemy and obscenity. Curiosity seekers may peruse the work and may indeed wonder what all the fuss was about. But: for all devotees, disciples, fans and followers of The Beast everywhere, this is a "must-have" collection, reminding us that Aleister was a brilliant Poet - as well as being one of the last genuine, authentic Magicians in Esoteric history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good copy of book delivered to my friend Kathy who really enjoyed it. Thank you very much.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Been after this for years.
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