Thame, England: Mandrake Press, Ltd., 1991. Limited - First Edition thus. Hardcover. Octavo. 48pp. White cloth with gilt device on upper board. Frontis. Edition Limited to 350 numbered copies, this being copy no. 15. This copy SIGNED by Keith Richmond on the title page and SIGNED and warmly INSCRIBED by the editor/publisher Anthony ("Tony") Naylor to Oliver Marlow Wilkinson on the front free endpaper. From the Introduction "Of the many curious and obscure Crowley works "Alexandra" is one of the most mysterious. For reasons uncertain, Crowley later chose to disregard the book completely, not even giving it so much as a mention in his otherwise quite comprehensive "Confessions." The blanket of silence that Crowley cast over "Alexandra" subsequently led to much confusion concerning the nature and history of the book. Crowley wrote "Alexandra" some time during the years 1905 or 1906, presumably for the amusement of himself and a small circle of friends. As can be judged from its long and mocking title page, "Alexandra" is basically a sustained jest at the the expense of traditionalist poets, Alfred Austin and Owen Seaman ... and the establishment which accepted and supported them." There is some uncertainty as to whether the original 1909 Edition of this book was ever actually issued - if so then all copies of it must (as one story goes) have been amongst a shipment of Crowley books that were destroyed by British Customs ("Alexandra" apparently, on account of disrepectful references to the British Royal Family). Two somewhat different versions of the text survive in proof copies - the one in the Yorke collection provided the basis for this edition - the other version, based on proofs held at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin, Texas was published fours years later as a booklet by the Corneliuses under the Pangenetor Lodge imprint.
From the library of Oliver Marlow Wilkinson (1915-1999) dramatist, author, educator and raconteur. Oliver was the son of Louis Umfreville Wilkinson (1881-1966) an English man-of-letters who wrote a number of satirical autobiographical and fictional works, mostly under the pseudonym "Louis Marlow." Louis Umfreville Wilkinson was a good friend of Aleister Crowley's, the two had an extensive correspondence, and Crowley respected Louis's literary skills to the extent that he engaged him to prepare a popular edition of Crowley commentaries on "Liber AL." Crowley also made Louis one of his executors, and it was Louis Wilkinson who caused some uproar amongst the more excitable members of the press by reading from Crowley's "Hymn to Pan" and other of his works at the Beast's funeral. Louis's son Oliver also knew Crowley well; indeed he was the one that found Crowley the rooms at Netherwood that became his final home and Crowley, along with John Cowper Powys, is said to have jointly shared the honour of being Oliver's godfather. Oliver Wilkinson inherited many of the Crowley books and papers that had belonged to his father Louis, including a number of signed and inscribed items, etc. etc. In the 1980s Oliver refreshed his interest in Crowley, meeting with a number of contemporary Crowley afficiandos including Hymenaeus Beta, Clive Harper, Tony Naylor, Keith Richmond, Martin P. Starr, et al. At Tony Naylor's urging he also wrote an Introduction to a new edition of his father's book "Seven Friends" (which included a chapter-long reminiscense of Crowley) which Naylor published under his Mandrake Press Ltd. imprint in 1992. Oliver Marlow died in 1999, and in 2021 Weiser Antiquarian books acquired the remains of Oliver's Crowley collection, which comprised some of the books and pieces of ephemera that had belonged to his father, as well as books, such as this, that he himself had bought or was given in the 1980s and 1990s. A small posthumous book-label, tipped in at the rear, identifies it as having come from his collection. The edges of the text-block are a little dusty, otherwise the book itself is in Fine condition in a VG dust jacket (the jacket has a few grubby marks and some light foxing, no chips or tears, now protected by a removable mylar sleeve). Item #69730