The Book of Thoth. A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians. Aleister Crowley, Lady Frieda Harris.

The Book of Thoth. A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians

London: O.T.O., [1944]. First edition. 4to, xii, 287 pp, bound in illustrated paper over boards backed in crushed red morocco stamped in gilt, and raised in five bands at the spine. One of a limited edition of 200 numbered copies signed by Crowley, this copy being no. 123.

Boards lightly rubbed through at tips, and slightly toned, else a fine example.

A visionary book created out of a remarkable collaboration. Crowley had been introduced to Harris via Clifford Bax, who had been tasked with finding an artist for Crowley’s tarot project. Crowley had originally intended a more modest, bounded project than Harris envisioned, but it soon became a consuming project that strained the health of both. Harris’s remarkable visual approach was based upon her investigations of projective synthetic geometry, based on the color theory of Goethe, incorporating the work of Rudolf Steiner, Olive Whicher and George Adams. The resulting images are a remarkable chapter in the history of visionary art in the 20th century, and, via the deck that was eventually published (which neither Crowley nor Harris lived to see) has influenced visions of the tarot more than any other modern interpretation.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is the same copy of the Book of Thoth that Olson read and used in his writing of the poem Bridge-Work, the reading list poem which was written wit tthe help of Lansing, and which raised Crowley’s profile (and G. R. S. Mead’s) in the New American Poetry. See no. 71.

Yorke, pp. 55. Item #27537

Price: $7,500.00

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