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Those two volumes are theoretically Crowley's "complete" short fiction. My favorites there are the stories in Golden Twigs.
"Sam Dunn, a Parisian with an English name, the key protagonist in a novel set in the future (between 1945 and 1952), is a figure from the 1890s, and aesthete, a snob, a drug-using neurasthenic, a decadent, and above all a poet of ridiculous elegies. In many ways his character reflects the history of Futurism, with particular reference perhaps to Marinetti himself, who began his literary career writing, in French, overwrought Symbolism poetry."
It is wonderful to have a publishing house that shoots out sensational volumes of perversity and violence, displaying a reckless, gleeful disregard for peevish, mealy-mouthed bourgeois proprieties. I'd rather read Marie-Madeleine than waste my time with the likes of Jonathan Franzen and Marilynne Robinson -- Sure, Gilead is a quiet tour de force, just not a lot of fun.
Private Life holds up a mirror to the moral corruption in the interstices of the Barcelona high society Sagarra was born into. Boudoirs of demimonde tramps, card games dilapidating the fortunes of milquetoast aristocrats - and how they scheme to conceal them - fading manors of selfish scions, and back rooms provided by social-climbing seamstresses are portrayed in vivid, sordid, and literary detail.
The novel, practically a roman-à-clef for its contemporaries, was a scandal in 1932. The 1960's edition was bowdlerized by Franco's censors. Part Lampedusa, part Genet, this translation will bring an essential piece of 20th-century European literature to the English-speaking public.
I didn't know the title, and at first I thought it couldn't be that Charles Fourier. But it is. Nice.
It was only $8 new from multiple vendors online, so I've ordered a copy.
Appropriately, the book's printed in Bohemia (well, the Czech Republic...).
I asked after this book in an ad published online by the Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, in Charlottesville, VA (it was one of about 40 books on a list of "Rare and Valuable Books" posted for the organization's fundraiser sale). I was told the books were available for pick up in person, but not via online or postal payment. I made the 2 hour drive south and, handing over $200, was told by the book sale manager that he had revisited the item after our conversation and decided he had under-priced it and pulled it from the sale. Sleazy scoundrel.
On the upside, the trees along the route to that clogged and poky little town were vibrantly green.
Found both at Downtown Books in Milwaukee:
It has since relocated, but Merlin the cat still roams the stacks.
I am currently hugely enjoying 'Vestal Fire' by Compton Mackenzie in which he pokes an almost loving fun at the snobs and decadents of Capri in the early 1900s.
Most of the characters in the book are based on real people and the whole book revolves around the the arrival on the island of Count Marsac (based on d'Adelswärd-Fersen) and the chaos that ensues.
Its a lot of fun.
And a couple Ezra Pound-related titles: The Literary Essays of Ezra Pound and The Pound Era by Hugh Kenner.
Firstly Monsieur De Bougrelon by Jean Lorrain from the relatively new Spurl press. A small masterpiece of late Decadence, pushing the style beyond self-parody, verging on Surrealism. Reminisces of an impossible dandy.
Secondly Spells by Michel de Ghelderode. A lavish and thoroughly annotated translation in a big trade paperback format, making an significant addition to Wakefield's already impressive list. Tales of madness, obsession and mystery in the gloom and fog of pre-war Belgium. Everything I had wanted from the stories of Jean Ray.
Can't recommend either of these highly enough to followers of this list.
It was very nice to receive both Spells and Disagreeable Tales in English. I can now continue to be too lazy to try the French that I bought and never read (now if someone would only get to the Latin American modernistas - Palma, Castillo, Casal, Turcios, Rebolledo, etc...). Ghelderode's play L'Escurial is still my favorite of all his works (those I've read).
For madness, obsession and mystery, you might continue on the down-bound train with The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington, published by Dorothy: a publishing project. It starts off with a tale of a spoiled young lady of wealthy family sending her pet hyena in her stead down to her parents' dinner party... wearing her dress and the face of her nanny that the hyena has recently killed.
For lighter refreshment - a nihilist's beach read: Anthony Powell's early novel of empty-hearted, empty-headed urban slouchers, Afternoon Men. It's as awful and decadent as it gets (though not at all gothic, or dripping of absinthe), and very humorous (if you agree with the statement that nothing is more amusing than unhappiness).
>42 paradoxosalpha: Thanks, fixed that! Working from a cellphone, and, hey, I got de Ghelderode's name right without checking!
>43 Randy_Hierodule: Thanks for the tips. The Carrington collection is most definitely on my list. I have Down Below and The Hearing Trumpet but the short stories have been elusive and pricey up until now.
Sponsor is The Last Tuesday Society: http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/
I'm thinking of overcoming my basic inclination to fossilize, and purchase the ticket - more for the location than anything else: London, and Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities.
Certainly worth going to see the current (small, but always wonderful) Austin Osman Spare show and of course the curiosities downstairs.
I am also about 1/3rd of the way through and think the ground was better covered in a wider context by Christopher McIntosh's 'Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival'- still a great read 40+ years after its first publication. Every few years I have a purge of books to make room for more, and that was one of the few I had to rebuy as I missed it so much.
Just arrived today, Powers of Darkness, an Icelandic variant publication of Dracula, freely translated to the extent of introducing new characters and themes, though some of these appear to derive from Stoker's original notes of the model. Fascinating stuff. I opened for a quick look and didn't surface for an hour!
I think that Weiser edition has only been issued in softcover, alas. It's the best research copy, as far as I'm concerned. Others are superior as stage props.
(Cue lazy topical political joke about Russian hackers and red state election returns.)
On an unrelated note, I received a copy of Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Robles. Here's the synopsis (emphasis added):
"A stolen diamond and three right feet, wearing shoes of a non-existent brand, that wash ashore in Scotland set into motion the first plot of Island of Point Nemo, a rollicking Jules Verne-like adventure narrative that crosses continents and oceans, involves multilingual codes, a world-famous villain, and three eccentrically loopy detectives.
Running parallel is the story of B@bil Books, an e-reader factory in France filled with its own set of colorful characters, including the impotent Dieumercie and his randy wife, who will stop at nothing—including a suspect ritual involving bees—to fix his “problem,” and their abusive boss Wang-li Wong, obsessed with carrier pigeons and spying on his employees.
With the humor of a Jasper Fforde novel, and the structure of a Haruki Murakami one, Island of Point Nemo is a literary puzzle and grand testament to the power of storytelling—even in our digital age."
Not sure if the Goetia will be used in that case.
The Child by Jules Valles -- Turns out it is the first volume of a trilogy.
The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound by Michael Alexander
Summer in Termuren by Louis Paul Boon -- This is a sequel to Chapel Road
DeGaulle: the Rebel and DeGaulle: the Ruler by Jean Lacouture -- One of the titans of French history.
The Russian Symbolist Theatre by Michael Greene
The Dancers at the End of Time by Michael Moorcock -- "In this brilliant homage to the golden 1890s of Wilde, Beardsley and the fin-de-siecle decadents, The Dancers at the End of Time is satire at its sharpest and most colorful."
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