Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2008 Issue

A Late Spring from Elysium Books

Elysiumsp08

The latest catalogue from Elysium Books.


By Michael Stillman

We may have received this catalogue a bit late, since it is entitled Spring 2008, but the year is right, if not the season. It comes from Elysium Books of North Pomfret, Vermont, and perhaps summer never goes that far north, making it still spring. This catalogue contains books primarily of gay interest. There are books by homosexual authors or about issues that affected the community. Most go back to the first half of the 20th century and farther, when tolerance of differences was perhaps somewhat less than it is today. Here are a few of the books that return to a time when writing about these issues was undoubtedly more difficult than it is today.

All communities have their good people and their bad, sometimes both rolled into one. Most people are just typical, but they don't make as good stories, so this book is about a man who started good but apparently turned very, very bad. Gilles de Rais was a French nobleman of the 15th century who inherited great wealth (much of which he squandered away). He served the French as a heroic associate of Joan of Arc. Normally, that would have been enough to make him an enduring hero to his countrymen, but what he did later reversed his standing. He had uncontrolled and diverse sexual predilections that led him to kill what has been estimated at anywhere from 150 to 800 children, mostly boys. It seems hard to imagine he could have gotten away with quite that much killing, and author Aleister Crowley was dubious of the whole matter. Gilles confession was reportedly elicited through the threat of torture, though there were also many witnesses against him. Crowley, an occultist and bisexual himself, saw Gilles' dabbling with black magic the reason for his unpopularity. Whatever the reason, Gilles was tried by both ecclesiastic and secular courts, and while his excommunication by the former was forgiven, his death sentence by the latter was not. He was hanged. In 1930, Crowley was invited to speak before the Oxford University Poetry Society about Gilles. However, at the last minute, the invitation was withdrawn. The University's Catholic chaplain exerted pressure to cancel the invite. Crowley knew exactly how to respond. He followed through on a threat to publish his lecture and hand out copies at Oxford. It undoubtedly reached more people this way than a simple talk ever would have. Item 65 is Crowley's The Banned Lecture Gilles de Rais to have been delivered before the Oxford University Poetry Society by Aleister Crowley on the evening of February 3rd, 1930... Priced at $425.

Item 58 is what Elysium refers to as, "In our opinion, [Jean] Cocteau's greatest illustrated work, consisting of thirty-one self-portraits, created while he was undergoing a disintoxication program for his addiction to opium." He spent hours looking into a mirror, coming to grips with his addiction and, perhaps, mourning the loss of young poet Raymond Raguet, to whom he was close (however, Cocteau denied that this was a cause of his addiction). The book, published in 1925, is Le Mystere de Jean l'Oiseleur, and one of those portraits can be seen on the cover of this catalogue (click the thumbnail image above to see). $3,500.

Sometimes those that are victims of persecution can be driven together, which explains this odd book, Despised and Rejected, by A.T. Fitzroy. Published during the First World War (1917), it likens the treatment of homosexuals to that of conscientious objectors during the war. Neither group was accepted by much of society. Item 96. $1,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Science: Books and Manuscripts<br>15-25 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Mary Anning. Autograph letter signed, to William Buckland, 24 November 1834. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Bolyai. <i>Scientiam spatii absolute veram exhibens,</i> Maros Vásárhelyi, 1832-1833, 2 volumes, half calf. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Vesalius.<br><i>De humani corporis fabrica,</i> Basel, 1555, modern crushed burgundy morocco. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Science: Books and Manuscripts<br>15-25 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Copernicus.<br><i>De revolutionibus orbium coelestium,</i> Nuremberg, 1543, later boards, Rostock duplicate. £70,000 to £100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Payan-Dumoulin. Profusely illustrated manuscript of fossils, France, c.1875-1979. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 15-25 May:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph letter signed, to his son Albert, 4 November [1915]. £10,000 to £15,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Alken (Henry), after. Salmon Fishing; Fishing in a Punt; Pike Fishing, three works, 1820. £600 to £800.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Early Images of Angling.- Hollar (Wenceslaus) Angling; River Fishing; and Salmon Fishing, after Francis Barlow, 3 engravings, [c. 1671]. £500 to £700.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Rolfe (Henry Leonidas). <i>Studies of Fresh Water Fish,</i> 1851. £500 to £700.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Morland (George), After. A Party Angling; The Anglers' Repast, a pair, mezzotints, 1789. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Pollard (James), After. Bottom Fishing; Anglers Packing Up, etchings with aquatint, 1831. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Angling's Age of Romance.- Sayer (Robert, publisher) & J. Bennett. The Angelic Angler, mezzotint, 1781; and another. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire.- London.- Roberts (Piercy). Patience at Paddington or angling in the Junction Canal, etching after Woodward, 1807; together with Woodward's 'Angling at Sadler's Wells', and another, 1794. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire - Cats Fishing.- Seymour (Robert). Waltonizing or - Green-land Fisherman, [c. 1830s]; together with 3 lithographs of cats fishing, [c. 1830s]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Portraits.- Zoffany (Johan), After. Master James Sayer, at the age of 13, mezzotint by Richard Houston, 1772. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Wilkinson (Norman). Come to Britain for Fishing, lithographic poster, [c. 1947]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Scottish Fishing.- Heath (William). Sporting in the Scottish Isles no. III. Salmon Fishing, 1835; and another. £150 to £200.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Simpson (Joseph). The Border Angler, drypoint, [c. 1927]. £150 to £200.

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