London: Mandrake Press Limited, 1930. First Edition. Softcover. Octavo. 158 pp. Original blue-grey wrappers. The first edition of Stephensen's fascinating study of the press attacks on Crowley in the 1920s. Crowley's then-secretary, Israel Regardie, assembled a large collection of pertinent press clippings from Crowley's files, which P. R. Stephensen used as the basis for this work, which he wrote with "the Beast's" collaboration.
With the ownership signature of Arthur E. Richardson, on the first blank. Richardson, of Surbiton, Surrey, was a student of Aleister Crowley's and an enthusiastic member of his A.'. A.'. from the late 1920s up until December 1936. Crowley and Richardson visited each other regularly, and Crowley stayed with him for a time in November, 1936. Richardson was quite wealthy, and clearly provided Crowley with substantial funds, including guaranteeing the rent on his 66 Redcliffe Gardens flat for 6 months. In return Richardson received instruction, and a wonderful collection of Crowley's books, including what was, at that time, Crowley's own copy of "Konx om Pax." Although not certain, it seems likely that Richardson would have received this copy of "The Legend" direct from Crowley. Richardson put serious effort into his studies, making manuscript copies of Crowley works such as "Liber Aleph" and the "Preliminary Comment to Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente," so as to gain a deep familiarity with the works. Clearly the two were very friendly, and Crowley even used to help Richardson's son with his homework. Almost inevitably there was a falling out, apparently caused by Richardson's decision to stop funding Crowley. Details are sketchy, but the Beast wrote in his diary of "Richardson's amazing treachery," (he'd probably changed his mind about paying Crowley's rent). In retaliation Crowley is supposed to have carried out a minor campaign of harassment and slander against Mrs. Richardson (who presumably pushed her husband to stop wasting money on Crowley) by slipping notes under the doors of the couple's neighbours, accusing her of wanton behaviour.
This is a book almost never encountered in unworn condition because of the cheap production values. The spine is heavily faded (though titling is quite legible), covers very lightly rubbed and with uneven - and sometimes quite pronounced - fading around the edges. A little light foxing to page edges, pages lightly browned. Still a clean, solid VG copy, with an interesting history, of a work seldom found in better condition. Item #57449