London: Elkin Mathews, 1910. First Edition. Hardcover. Octavo. xiii + 98pp (+ 2pp. adverts). Original composite boards with titling in gilt. Fore- & bottom-edges untrimmed. Gilt title etc. to spine and cover. Frontis Portrait-photograph. Now housed in a custom-made portfolio with brown cloth boards, black buckram spine, gilt-stamped leather title-label. This copy INSCRIBED and SIGNED by Crowley on the front free endpaper: "[name erased] / from / [signature] Aleister Crowley / 6 May 1910." Unfortunately someone - presumably the recipient, or his or her heirs - did not want their name associated with Crowley, so the name has been carefully but completely erased, leaving the inscription anonymous. "Ambergris" contains a selection of Crowley's early published poetry, made by himself and a group of friends. Writing in the Preface, Crowley declared that "In response to a widely-spread lack of interest in my writings, I have consented to publish a small and unrepresentative selection from the same. ..... This volume .... is therefore now submitted to the British Public with the fullest confidence that it will be received with exactly the same amount of acclamation as that to which I have become accustomed." Crowley was correct, and the book was widely ignored in literary circles.
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.
Portfolio Fine. Corners of boards bumped and rubbed, an abrasion to the front boad has removed the "wl" of the author's surname, the spine is quite lightly rubbed. Recipient's name erased from inscription as noted. Otherwise a tight, clean VG+ copy of a book which - due to its fragile composite boards - is genuinely rare in such good condition, especially so when inscribed (no dustjacket, none issued). Item #69797