Thame, England: Mandrake Press, Ltd., 1990. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Quarto. 304pp. Black cloth with gilt title, etc. to spine. Black & white frontis, and photo plates, line drawings by Dwina Murphy-Gibb. Edition limited to 1000 numbered copies, this being copy no. 15. This copy SIGNED and INSCRIBED by both Keith Richmond and the book's publisher Anthony ("Tony") Naylor to Oliver Marlow Wilkinson on the front free endpaper. The first major separate study of Crowley's "Rites of Eleusis." It includes the full texts of Crowley's Rites (as performed at Catxon Hall), a 40pp historical Introduction by Keith Richmond, and essays: "The Eleusinian Mysteries" and "Aleister Crowley and 'The Rites of Eleusis'" by Terence DuQuesne, etc. Superb plates of Leila Waddell and others.
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.
Upper corners lightly bruised, boards a little splayed, the edges of the text-block are a little flecked and dusty. A matchbox sized water spill on the front-free endpaper has smudged Naylor's inscription, and offsett lightly onto the facing pastedown. The rear of the book has suffered some sort of damp exposure - the rear free endpaper and last 50 or so pages have a gentle ripple and a certain stiffness to them, but there is no adhesion or discoloration - it is such that while the damp effects can be observed when handled, they are not so bad that they would show in a photograph. Otherwise it is tight and clean, overall a G copy, in VG+ dust jacket (the jacket has just a hint of shelfwear, no chips or tears, a little discoloration to the blank reverse, now protected by a removable mylar sleeve). A large heavy book that will require additional shipping charges to most destinations. Priced "as is" because of the condition issues. Item #69732