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Paris: L'Edition (1918). 284pp. Memoirs of the famous French tragedien, who befriended Cocteau at a young age and helped to launch his career as a poet. Illustrated throughout with 24 drawings of Jean Lorrain, Robert de Montesquiou, Henri Bernstein, Sacha Guitry, Sarah Bernhardt, Edmond Rostand and others by Cappiello, de Losques, Lucien Laforge, etc. One of only thirty numbered copies on Japon (after 12 on Chine), this copy is also adorned with a warm inscription from the author on a title page from another addition which is tipped onto endpaper. A very nice copy in original decorated wrappers.
London, J.W. Parker and Son (1858) 8vo., 128 pp. A rare volume on the conduct of young men given to the eccentric teenage poet and Etonian, Digby Mackworth Dolben at age 14. Dolben caused considerable scandal at Eton with his exhibitionist behaviour and homosexual eccentricities He wrote homosexual verses to his contemporaries and scandalized his tutors with his behaviour. Dolben drowned at 19 and was mourned by the great Victorian poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins: “there can very seldom have happened the loss of so much beauty (in body and mind and life) ... Inscribed in 1862 to Dolben by Edward Daniel Stone, classical scholar and a schoolmaster at Eton during Dolben's tenure there. Armorial ex-libris of George Digby Scott, rector of Bray Quite rare- the first book of Dolben's library of which we are aware. Full crushed brown morocco and gilt, some wear, evidence of old tape strip removal, all edges gilt.
New York: Films International America (1947). Soft cover. Uncommon booklet issued to promote the experimental film by Hans Richter. Contributors to the film included Max Ernst, Fernand Leger, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder, Julien Levy, Paul Bowles, Libby Holman, Josh White, Darius Milhaud, John Cage and others. Numerous illustrations, with a cover image is by Max Ernst. A lovely copy with very light browning at edges.
Paris: Albin Michel (1928). An uncommon gay novel set in a Montmartre gay bar which accurately reflects the decadence of the 1920s through the eyes of the bar's owner Horace and his much younger lover. Very good in original wrappers by Vertes, light edgewear, wrinkling to spine. One of 10 special copies on Mongolfier (#9). Quite uncommon.
Paris: Chez Ladvocat (1824). 172pp. This anonymously published novel about a young black African woman and her life in a French household, considered to be the first effort serious effort by a white writer to explore the relationship of blacks and whites. Duras's novel Edouard followed in 1825 and explored similarly unconventional issues of sexuality. The original edition of Ourika appeared in a very small edition of perhaps a dozen copies- this edition appeared the same year. A very good copy contemporary boards, bookplates on front pastedown.
Leipzig: Georg H. Wigand's Verlag (1896). 308pp. The true first edition of the author's classic text, Sexual Inversion, completed in collaboration with John Addington Symonds. Symonds and Ellis began working together on the book in June of 1892 and continued until Symonds' death in April of the following year. Following the arrest and conviction of Oscar Wilde in 1895, Ellis despaired of finding an English publisher for this book, which Symonds had insisted must be the first volume in his collaborator's Studies in the Psychology of Sex. This, the correct first edition, was published by Ellis' friend Hans Kurella in Leipzig in 1896, and acclaimed in the German press as a pioneering work. The first edition in English was brought out the following year, but suppressed before publication by Symonds' literary executor, Horatio Brown. A very good copy bound in contemporary marbled paper and linen boards, handmade label on spine, light edgewear. Quite rare.
Paris: Ambert . 281pp. 2nd ed. The first of several highly popular schoolboy novels with explicit gay themes written by this French writer, who befriended Count d'Adelsward Fersen and contributed to his journal Akademos. Very good in 1/4 leather binding, original wrappers (with cover photograph by Wilhelm con Gloeden) present, light cover wear, penned signature on endpaper.
Paris: L'Assiette au Beurre (20 Juin 1908). A German edition of the weekly French satirical magazine with a cover illustration relating to the notorious Eulenburg scandal that engulfed Germany from 1907-1909. Maximilian Harden was the jingoist editor of the periodical Die Zukunf and accused Philipp, Prince of Eulenburg-Hertefeld, and General Kuno, Graf von Moltke of engaging in homosexual activities. Both men were members of Kaiser Wilhelm II's inner circle and the ensuing scandal had long lasting effects on the gay rights movement in Europe. The affair received wide publicity and is often considered the biggest domestic scandal of the German Second Empire. It led to one of the first major public discussions of homosexuality and was the first occasion that the word "homosexual" was introduced into common usage. Very good, spine cracking a bit.
Paris: Editions de France (1935). 4to. 193pp. Fellowes was a celebrated 20th-century society figure and heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune. This is her most acclaimed novel, issued in English as "Sundays" and illustrated with a suite of amusing drawings by Marcel Vertes. One of 20 copies of the tete de l'edition (#15) printed on Japon, signed by both the author and the illustrator, which also includes two states of the illustrations as well as an original illustration by Vertes. Original wrappers present, bound in a full morocco pink binding by Riviere, occasional very light spotting, light wear at joints. In addition, there is another original illustration by Vertes bound in to the text (not called for in the colophon). A lovely book.
Paris: Leon Vanier (1907). Two novellas, one of which was hailed by Rachilde as a minor masterpiece, both dealing with boys and thwarted love. The book was dedicated to Fersen's lover, Nino Cesarini, "blus beau que la lumière romaine." Edward Prime-Stevenson notes in his compendium The Intersexes called Une Jeunesse "the most artistic of Fersen's tales... It is a simple and graceful sketch of the passion of Robert Jélaine, a young French painter—sensual and prematurely disillusioned but not wholly embittered—for a Sicilian youth, Nino, with a head "like that of the David of Verocchio." The boy is living with his grandmother, at Taormina. Nino has inherited homosexuality, though he does not know it. But the instinct, and consequent incidents, bring his sudden separation from Jélaine." Very good in original wrappers, a bit browned, rebound in marbled paper boards.
NP:ND [1911-1914]. 88pp. A rare and controversial work of pornography, which includes one chapter entitled "Chez le baron d'Alderswald" which was originally published in 1904 as a pamphlet and condemned by the Cour d'Assises in 1913. The author casts asperions on every one around Fersen: he had intimate relations with Oscar Wilde, Pierre Loti, and Jean Lorrain; he had an incestuous relationship with his mother who took his virginity at an early age; Jacques, in turn, deflowered a number of young boys upon the skeleton of his own mother. The piece ends with Jacques' death in the prison hospital at Fresnes as a result of "a delicate operation on his anus." This version, significantly revised, was issued as part of a series. Very good in 3/4 morocco binding, marbled endpapers, the initials "P.K.M." appear at foot of spine, lightly nicked spine, original wrappers present. Pia (@110) dates this publication to sometime between 1911 and 1914.
Paris, Éditions de Pan (1911). (4to) 39 pp. One of the rarest books published by the eccentric writer, limited to 130 numbered copies (this example unnumbered). Many of the poems bear printed dedications to his fellow writers, Laurent Tailhade, Georges Eekhoud, Robert Scheffer, as well as his longtime consort Nino Cesarini. The title comes from the famous garden in Sri Lanka, which Fersen had visited several years earlier on an extended trip to the island. Very good in original wrappers.
Elysium: Asphodel Editions (2005). 1st Edition. Hardcover. This edition is the first English translation of the eccentric Baron Fersen's decadent gay novel, Lord Lyllian: Messes Noires. Fersen (1880-1923) was arrested in 1903 and charged with indecent assault and exciting minors to debauchery. He was forced to leave France and settled in Capri, where he began the novel the following year. Originally published in 1905, it was one of the first novels written about Oscar Wilde after his demise and is filled with outrageous descriptions of fin de siècle excesses, including Fersen’s own addiction to opium and adolescent boys. The edition is limited to 500 copies bound in black silk moiré, with a reproduction of the original cover illustration by Claude Simpson tipped onto the cover. Jeremy Reed has contributed an Introduction to the edition. Printed at the Stinehour Press in Vermont.
Paris: Simon Kra (1926). The first translation of a Fitzgerald novel into a foreign language, this is the first French edition of the classic novel, translated by Victor Liona. The translation has been widely acclaimed and remains the only version in print. Jean Cocteau was among the most ardent admireres of the text and wrote to the translator that "c'est une livre céleste: chose la plus rare du monde." One of 400 numbered copies (#51), the book is quite uncommon in commerce. A very good copy in original wrappers, light browning to covers, photographic frontispiece, newspaper clipping tipped on to the inside of front wrapper. Rare.
London: Leonard Smithers (1899). A collection of poems by a friend of the Sitwells and George Moore, published no doubt as a vanity publication by Smithers, "publisher to the decadents." Laid in is an ALS from the author to the singer Lady Maud Warrender, with her bookplate on front paste down. Very good in decorative blue boards, wear to edges, hinges weakening.