London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1898. First Edition. Hardcover. Small quarto (7 7/8 x 6 1/4 inches). viii + 90pp. Original brick-red paper-covered boards with white cloth spine and paper title label. Title-page printed in red and black. As far as is known, this was Crowley's fifth book, rather stunningly published less than nine months after his first (D'Arch Smith suggests his first book, "Aceldama" was published shortly after April 1898, whilst Kaczynski observes that although it bears the date 1898, "The Tale of Archais" was actually published in January 1899). According to Duncombe-Jewell the edition comprised 250 cloth-bound copies on hand-made paper (as this copy), and 2 copies on vellum. There are 3 known binding variants of the hand-made paper edition which have, respectively, dull-green, slate-blue, and - as this copy - brick-red paper-covered boards. The order of precedence has never been established although they were most likely published simultaneously. A story in verse, Crowley issued "The Tale of Archais" under the pseudonym "A Gentleman of the University of Cambridge," the same nom de plume that he had used for "Aceldama." The choice of pseudonym was most likely a sort of hommage to Shelley, who wrote his gothic novel "St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian, A Romance," under the nom de plume "A Gentleman of the University of Oxford," although Crowley may well have been aware of early uses of the "Cambridge" version, including by the author of a history of tobacco!
From the collection of Clive Harper with his discreet 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.
Spine label darkened and with a rubbed area down the centre causing the loss of a few letters, spine and boards a little darkened, corner bruised, some rubbing and a loss of paper covering to rear board. Endpapers a little darkened. Otherwise internally a bright, clean, largely unopened VG+ copy. Issued without dust jacket. Item #66125