"On The Edge of the Desert" An early 3-page typescript of this long poem. The typescript includes two verses and a dedication not present in the original published version. It has several manuscript corrections, and is signed twice by Crowley - one pencilled signature struck through. Aleister CROWLEY.

"On The Edge of the Desert" An early 3-page typescript of this long poem. The typescript includes two verses and a dedication not present in the original published version. It has several manuscript corrections, and is signed twice by Crowley - one pencilled signature struck through.

ND ( ca 1910). Text typed in black on the rectos only of three sheets of plain quarto (10 1/4 x 8 inch) note paper. "English Review" / "June" in pencil in Crowley's handwriting at the top of the first page, alongside an ink dedication "to L. W." [Leila Waddell] which has been struck through with pencil. There is a pencil signature "Aleister Crowley" above the first line of the poem has been struck through with a single line, neat ink signature "Aleister Crowley" at the end of the poem. Various pencilled numerals etc. in the margins and two manuscript corrections to the text. On the second page there are two six-line verses - lightly struck through in pencil but absolutely legible - that were omitted from the original published version.
"On The Edge of the Desert" was first published in "The English Review" of June 1911 (pp. 362-363). The work was a love lyric, written by Crowley whilst on a sea voyage from Marseilles to Algiers in November 1909. In his "Confessions" Crowley observed that the poem was one of several lyrics "inspired by the idea of getting back to my inamorata in London." As the suppressed dedication in this typescript confirms, the inamorata in question was not his (then) wife Rose Kelly (who he was in the process of divorcing), but Leila Waddell, the Australian violinist who had recently become his lover.
Although not certain, it seems highly likely that given the struck through passages etc. this is the original typescript that was submitted to "The English Review". Crowley later decided to include "On The Edge of the Desert" in his planned collection, "The Giant's Thumb" but although it reached proof stage in 1915, it was not actually published until well after his death. The surviving proofs of "The Giant's Thumb", which were finally published by "First Impressions" in 1992, show that he had intended to restore the two omitted verses, although not the dedication, even though he was still involved with Waddell at the time the proofs were prepared. The leaves have small holes in the upper left margin where they were evidently secured together with pins, there are a couple of small ink stains to the margins of the second leaf, and the leaves are a little darkend, moreso around the edges, which have a couple of light creases and tears. Still VG+ condition. Obviously unique, and with apparently unpublished material. Item #67528

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