London: Rider & Co., 1951. First edition - First Impression. Hardcover. Large octavo. 316pp. Original blue cloth with gilt title, etc. to spine. B&w frontisportrait & illustrations, bibliography and index. A significant ASSOCIATION COPY of the first edition of Symond's biography of Crowley, the book which introduced the children of the Fifties and Sixties to the Great Beast. INSCRIBED & SIGNED by John Symonds on the front free endpaper to Crowley friend Edward Noel Fitzgerald. The inscription reads "For Edward Fitzgerald / with best wishes / from John Symonds / 28th October '51".
Edward Noel Fitzgerald (1908-1958), Frater Agape of the A.'. A.'., was a IX degree member of the O.T.O., and friend and follower of Aleister Crowley, with whom he was in regular contact from the mid-1930s up until "the Beast's death" in 1947. FitzGerald was part of the small circle in Britain in the 1950s - including Frieda Lady Harris, Gerald Yorke, and Kenneth and Steffi Grant - who continued to take an interest in Crowley's work after his death. FitzGerald was also in contact with Karl Germer, who actively considered appointing him head of the O.T.O. in Britain, but this was precluded by FitzGerald's illness and untimely death.
Fitzgerald was a keen collector of Crowley's books and in a nice symmetry, provided the bibliography for Charles Richard Cammell's biography of Crowley: "Aleister Crowley, The Man, The Man, The Poet" (the ground-breaking bibliography published in "The Great Beast" was provided by Gerald Yorke).
This volume was amongst a large collection of FitzGerald's books and papers which was acquired by Weiser Antiquarian Books in 2007, and includes, tipped onto the front pastedown, a bookplate featuring FitzGerald's lamen seal that was especially produced by Weiser Antiquarian to identify works from the collection.
In a further nice conjunction, the book was purchased from the Fitzgerald collection by Clive Harper, who a few years later updated Gerald Yorke's Aleister Crowley bibliography (as first published in this volume) for inclusion in the 2011 Teitan Press collection of Gerald Yorke's writings. With Harper's discrete book-label neatly tipped in at the rear.
Cloth a bit rubbed and with few significant darkened patches. Spine ends and points lightly bruised and chafed, page edges a bit darkened. Pages evenly toned with a few scattered spots of browning. Still a tight, unmarked VG copy in complete Good+ example of the scarce dust jacket. (Dust jacket a bit worn overall, all edges lightly chafed and creased, a few small tears to edges and folds, some tidy tape reinforcement at spine ends and folds, price-clipped. Now in protective mylar cover). Signed copies of the first impression are genuinely scarce, a remarkable association copy like this especially so. Item #68208