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Collected Works: Volume One

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The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley 1905-1907 was originally a trilogy of books published by Aleister Crowley during his early career as student of magick. The first volume was published in 1905 but contains his poems and plays between 1898 and 1902 and is what he admits to be his juvenilia. It is noted at the beginning:The great bulk of MSS. from 1887 to 1897 have been sedulously sought out and destroyed. They were very voluminous.Most of these early works show little in the way of magic but are an introduction to Crowley's knowledge of religion and mythology. It's interesting to see how, after Crowley's first book White Stains was banned and pulped, his consequent works of 1898 were quite mellow, almost gothic and Christian, with the first two hiding behind the pseudonym "A Gentlemen of the University of Cambridge" (no doubt after Percy Shelley's "A Gentlemen of the University of Oxford" for similar reasons). Aceldama, named after the place where Judas hanged himself ("the field of blood") is a philosophical lament that sees sin as the only abyss of life. The Tale of Archais is a dramatic love poem telling the story of Charicles and Archais, a girl condemned to turn into a snake. Charicles prays to his mother Aphrodite to change him into a beautiful girl to lure Zeus' love and make him vow to change into a mortal for him/her, this then so Archais can bite and finally kill Zeus to lift the curse. The allusions to adultery and the Christian God are obvious in this comedy.After Songs of the Spirit the poems pick up Crowley's love of adulterous sex in the name of sin with the likes of "The Honourable Adulterers", "The Five Kisses" (both in Mysteries) and Jezebel and other Tragic Poems (in fact the word "tragedy" was added to these pieces, along with their own pseudonyms "A.E.C" and "Count Vladimir Svareff", again to protect Crowley's early reputation. He knew in himself they were actually comedies)The Temple of the Holy Ghost is a fusing of the poems in The Mother's Tragedy and other Poems and The Soul of Osiris: A History and now introduces Golden Dawn allusions, Sanskrit yoga terms, qabbalistic terms and Egyptian mythology. It was this latter book that was reviewed by the British poet and writer G. K. Chesterton quite polemically that led to Crowley's early feud with him.The last piece, Tannhäuser: A Story of all Time, ends Crowley's amateur stage and tells the legend of the Christian knight Tannhäuser, already expressed by Wagner. Crowley's source for the tale was probably the occult scholar Arthur Edward Waite. Tannhäuser in the play leaves his Christian community and his childhood darling Elizabeth for the mysteries of Egypt and the God beyond time. Oddly, Crowley once stated that this play contained the theory of special relativity only Einstein usurped the phenomenon in 1905 by being more blatant.

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  • Publication Date: February 17, 2020
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 550 Pages
  • File Size: 54,831 KB

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