New York, NY: Hill & Wang, 1970. First American Edition. Hardcover. Large octavo. 960pp. Original black cloth with gilt lettering on spine; front board has the Crowley self-portrait design (also used as the frontispiece) stamped in purple. B/w plates. Index. This copy INSCRIBED & SIGNED by John Symonds on the front blank: "To Pippa with good wishes from John Symonds, 3 Sept, 1980." The "Pippa" in question was apparently a member of a small Thelemic group, as well as a student at the Warburg Institute, which is where she met John Symonds who was then doing research in the Yorke collection for what would prove to be the penultimate revision of "The Great Beast" - that is "The King of the Shadow Realm." The first US edition of "The Confessions", a landmark work in Crowley publishing, which for the first time made available a near-complete edition of these autobiographical writings, which were and remain one of the major biographical sources on "the Beast" and are essential to an understanding of his life and magick. Crowley had originally intended that this "autohagiography," would be published in six magnificent volumes, but only two of these made it into print before the Great Depression and various internal disputes led to the demise of the original publishers, the Mandrake Press. The project languished uncompleted throughout Crowley's lifetime, and it was not until the late 1960s that work began on this massive (but still somewhat abridged) single volume edition, edited by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant. The book was first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape in 1969, and in the USA by Hill and Wang in 1970. The editor who signed this volume, and provided the Introduction, was John Symonds (1914–2006), an English author and journalist who met Crowley shortly before his death, and whom Crowley appointed his literary executor. Symonds is most widely remembered on account of the various iterations of his biography of Aleister Crowley, "The Great Beast", which were largely responsible for introducing a new generation to Crowley in the 1950s through 1970s, and also for his editing and publishing, mostly in co-operation with Kenneth Grant, a number of works by Crowley in the late 1960s and 1970s.
The book is most recently from the collection of Clive Harper with his discrete book-label neatly tipped in at the rear. Harper is well- known as the bibliographer of Austin Osman Spare, for updating the Aleister Crowley bibliography in the 2011 Teitan Press collection of Gerald Yorke's writings, and as someone who has lent his expertise to numerous other publications. The label can easily be removed without affecting the page, although it would be a shame not to preserve this record of the book's provenance. Light overall shelf wear, light bumps to corners and spine ends, a few small marks to cloth, pages edges darkened and thumbed, still a bright, tight VG+ copy in Good dust jacket (Dust jacket well worn overall especially at edges and extremities, creasing and chipping at spine ends and points, not price clipped, now protected by a removable mylar sleeve). For obvious reasons signed copies of the US edition are particularly uncommon, Item #65375