Sunday, May 30, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
[Demonology]. Book of Invocations of the Demons Vercan, Maymon, Suth, Samax, Sarabotres, Mediac or Modiac, and Arcan.
Manuscript in Latin written on 23 leaves of vellum by an English necromancer. On the first page is a roughly drawn crucifixion lettered "Tetragrammaton" enclosed within a circular inscription " Jesus Nazaranus Rex Judeorum, etc.," on the verso of the first leaf a drawing of the Almighty invoked by thefour evangelists, then follow 13 striking full-page representations (some coloured) of the demon Vercan, who is shown in various shapes and with various attributes; opposite each drawing a Latin invocation arranged in a circle within a circular inscription either in Latin or Hebrew, and 6 full-page drawings of the other demons mentioned above (Maymon, Suth, etc.), each with his invocation in Latin on the opposite page. [above].
In 1932 this was yours for a mere £275. The National Archives have a groovy little application called an Historical Currency Converter which allows you to bump that price through the years to see what it's equivalent might be today. It shouldn't be any surprise to know that Maggs were asking in the region of £10,000 for this MSS.
The second book today is another of that curious breed which seems always to provoke internet interest, the book bound in human skin. I've written about such a book before which I found in the catalogues of Leonard Smithers. Unfortunately, Maggs Bros are a far more scrupulous company than Mr Smither's and so, from consideration to their readers, they did not include an illustration, however, it is described thus:
[LADMIRAL (Jan.)]. ALBINUS (Bernhard Siegfried). Dissertatio de arteriis et venus intestinorum hominis.
ALBINUS (Bernhard Siegfried). Dissertatio secunda. De sede et causa coloris Aethiopum et caeterorum hominum.
ICON durae matris in concava superficie visae, ex capite foetus humani octo circiter a conceptione mensium, desumtae.
ICON durae matris in concvexa superficie visae, ex capite foetus humani octo circiter a conceptione mensium, desumtae.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Raven Eleven: Cigars and Tree Carvings
by Robert Scoble
Over the two decades of Frederick Rolfe's adult life prior to his embrace of writing as his profession, such salaries as he was able to earn came principally from teaching, first as an under-master in a succession of schools, and later as a tutor to private pupils.
Rolfe was an intelligent man, with an absorbent mind and a surprising range of practical accomplishments. He was musically proficient, fond of the outdoors, and a watchful student of human behaviour. These attributes, combined with his inexhaustible resourcefulness in proposing and planning new entertainments and iconoclastic topics of conversation, made him a memorable teacher.
This latest addition to the Raven Series traces the stories of three of Rolfe's pupils: Lawrence Grant, later to achieve a measure of fame as a Hollywood character actor; Malcolm Hay, who went on to contribute importantly to British intelligence in World War I; and Leo Schwarz, future pillar of the Catholic community and papal knight.
Each of these three left a detailed account of their time with Rolfe, recalling happy memories of him, and from their fascinating stories an aspect of his personality emerges which has largely been missed by his biographers: his skill as a stimulating and confident teacher.
The Raven Series has been planned as a set of fifteen scholarly essays which will add substantially to our knowledge of the life and work of Frederick Rolfe. Each essay is being published in a strictly limited edition, and there is little doubt that complete sets of the fifteen monographs will be sought after by collectors in the years to come.
Of a full edition of 70, the first 12 copies of Cigars and Tree Carvings constitute the special state, case bound in Russian green paper-covered boards with gilt titles, and signed by the author. The special state of this title also includes a facsimile of a Rolfe letter not present in the oridinary state. Numbers 13-70 form the ordinary state of the edition, and are sewn into Russian green card covers with a paper label and acetate wrappers.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Saturday, May 01, 2010
I am a sucker for bibliographies and book catalogues. So when, at a book auction a couple of weeks ago, I heard the auctioneer announce several lots one after another, all consisting of some cartons of bookeller's catalogues and bibliographical tracts of one kind or another, my hand rose almost trance-like into the air repeatedly with, it must be said, very little recourse to my brain.