Aleister Crowley’s Dirty, Dirty Poems

aleistercrowleyVictorian Gothic on Aleister Crowley’s White Stains:

Readers will likely be familiar with Aleister Crowley, the notorious English occultist, bisexual libertine, recreational drug user, founder of the Thelemic religion, leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and all-around scary wicked person. Those familiar with Crowley strictly through his esoteric writings, however, may be interested to know that one the “Great Beast’s” first forays into publishing consisted of a perverse little volume of erotic poetry entitled White Stains.

It was issued in Amsterdam in 1898 by Leonard Smithers; a leading publisher of English pornography, but also of controversial literature. His clients included Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur Symons, and Oscar Wilde. White Stains was published in a print run of one hundred copies which, according to rumors in the book world, Crowley is said to have white-stained himself. Most of these were destroyed in 1924 by British Customs; the surviving first editions currently sell for around $4,000 – $10,000.

The authorship of White Stains was attributed to George Archibald Bishop, a “neuropath of the second empire;” Bishop being the family name of Crowley’s hated, fundamentalist uncle. A lyrical exploration of every sexual taboo from bestiality to pederasty to necrophilia, Crowley conceived it as a literary response to Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis. “The thesis of von Krafft-Ebing’s book was that sexual aberrations were the result of physiological disease,” says an essayist at lashtal.com, but Crowley…

“…was of the opinion that any such aberration were psychological in nature and turned to artistic expression to make his point. Crowley states [in his 1989 Confessions] “I therefore invented a poet who went wrong, who began with normal innocent enthusiasms, and gradually developed various vices. He ends by being stricken with disease and madness, culminating in murder. In his poems he describes his downfall, always explaining the psychology of each act.”

True to form, Crowley saw fit to invoke the blessing of the Virgin Mary in the prefatory sonnet to this work. Let’s look at some excerpts.

[Full Article at Victorian Gothic]

28 Comments on "Aleister Crowley’s Dirty, Dirty Poems"

  1. The world needs more people like Crowley, truly a literary genius. Anyone who has an interest in obscure, bizarre or counturculture writers like Crowley should read (my personal favorites) H. S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and in general Beat (Beatnik) Poetry/Literature.

  2. jasonpaulhayes | Jul 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    The world needs more people like Crowley, truly a literary genius. Anyone who has an interest in obscure, bizarre or counturculture writers like Crowley should read (my personal favorites) H. S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and in general Beat (Beatnik) Poetry/Literature.

    • Jen Miles28 | Jul 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm |

       “English occultist, bisexual libertine, recreational drug user, founder
      of the Thelemic religion, leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.),
      and all-around scary wicked person”  YEaahhh… We need more people like that in the world.
      He was and isn’t a genius. He is a sicko. Do you even know what the OTO is? Do your homework and read between the lines.

      • Jin The Ninja | Jul 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm |

        The OTO is not 1/100th as evil as the catholic church- they did not target children for sexual trauma nor indigenous people for residential schools (cultural genocide) nor initiate entire wars against sovereign nation states. all that sh*t sounds pretty evil to me. the goal of a thelemic mage is at least consciousness raising. How many pedo-priests can say that? why don’t YOU do your homework and explain to us, exactly what subtext we should be reading?

      • Jin The Ninja | Jul 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm |

        The OTO is not 1/100th as evil as the catholic church- they did not target children for sexual trauma nor indigenous people for residential schools (cultural genocide) nor initiate entire wars against sovereign nation states. all that sh*t sounds pretty evil to me. the goal of a thelemic mage is at least consciousness raising. How many pedo-priests can say that? why don’t YOU do your homework and explain to us, exactly what subtext we should be reading?

      • “Do you even know what the OTO is?”

        Is there anyone in Disinfo who doesn’t know what the OTO is? 

        • The_Baffler | Jul 17, 2011 at 11:38 pm |

          I don’t, and since I suspect it deals with magic or the occult, I don’t care.

      • Tuna Ghost | Jul 18, 2011 at 2:38 am |

        Yes, I know what the OTO is.  What message are you reading between the lines that the rest of us are missing?  What is your definition of “sicko”?  Someone who enjoys sex with people of the same gender?  Or with more than one person at a time?  Someone who got addicted to the drugs he was prescribed for a medical problem?  

      • Hadrian999 | Jul 18, 2011 at 4:55 am |

        sadly some people would rather embrace the mythology of A.C. as a evil man rather than know what he was really like, he was about freedom and was very interesting, I  recommend the book of the law to everyone I know.

      • ChaoticMethod | Feb 22, 2014 at 12:18 am |

        Tell me more.

        How is an occult society dedicated to the free expression of every man and woman’s True Will wrong on any level?

        Maybe you read stuff between the lines that isn’t actually there……

    • Jen Miles28 | Jul 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm |

       “English occultist, bisexual libertine, recreational drug user, founder
      of the Thelemic religion, leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.),
      and all-around scary wicked person”  YEaahhh… We need more people like that in the world.
      He was and isn’t a genius. He is a sicko. Do you even know what the OTO is? Do your homework and read between the lines.

  3. Wizard troll | Jul 17, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    There’s no 666 in outer space 

  4. Wizard troll | Jul 17, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    There’s no 666 in outer space 

    • jasonpaulhayes | Jul 18, 2011 at 11:02 am |

      All religion serves The Beast. If religious men are in outer space, then so is The Beast.

  5. Wizard troll | Jul 17, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    There’s no 666 in outer space 

  6. Jen Miles28 | Jul 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm |

     “English occultist, bisexual libertine, recreational drug user, founder
    of the Thelemic religion, leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.),
    and all-around scary wicked person”  YEaahhh… We need more people like that in the world.
    He was and isn’t a genius. He is a sicko. Do you even know what the OTO is? Do your homework and read between the lines.

  7. Anonymous | Jul 18, 2011 at 1:03 am |

    The OTO is not 1/100th as evil as the catholic church- they do not nor did not target children for sexual trauma nor indigenous people for residential schools (cultural genocide) nor initiate entire wars against sovereign nation states. all that sh*t sounds pretty evil to me. the goal of a thelemic mage is at least consciousness raising. How many pedo-priests can say that? why don’t YOU do your homework and explain to us, exactly what subtext we should be reading?

  8. both (catholic church and OTO) are highly uninteresting

  9. “Do you even know what the OTO is?”

    Is there anyone in Disinfo who doesn’t know what the OTO is? 

  10. Anonymous | Jul 18, 2011 at 3:38 am |

    I don’t, and since I suspect it deals with magic or the occult, I don’t care.

  11. Anonymous | Jul 18, 2011 at 4:38 am |

    perhaps to you…

  12. Tuna Ghost | Jul 18, 2011 at 6:38 am |

    Yes, I know what the OTO is.  What message are you reading between the lines that the rest of us are missing?  What is your definition of “sicko”?  Someone who enjoys sex with people of the same gender?  Or with more than one person at a time?  Someone who got addicted to the drugs he was prescribed for a medical problem?  

  13. Hadrian999 | Jul 18, 2011 at 8:55 am |

    sadly some people would rather embrace the mythology of A.C. as a evil man rather than know what he was really like, he was about freedom and was very interesting, I  recommend the book of the law to everyone I know.

  14. All religion serves The Beast. If religious men are in outer space, then so is The Beast.

  15. Evan Camomile | Feb 22, 2014 at 12:38 am |

    “Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden” is next in line.

    You’re welcome.

Comments are closed.