Paris: Inversions (1924-1925). 4to. A complete set of the extremely rare magazine dedicated to homosexual issues in France. Although Fersen's journal Akademos is often cited as the first gay journal, Inversions (and its successor L'Amitie) were far more explicit in their open treatment of gay issues. The editors were not part of Parisian literary circles, but managed to obtain contributions from some of the most forceful proponents of homosexual rights, many of which contributed under pseudonyms: Numa Praetorius , St. Ch. Waldecke , Louis Estève , Willy , G. Pioch, Claude Cahun , Georges d'Autry, Pierre Guyolot-Dubasty (Axieros) , Marcel Dartus, Havelock Ellis and Camille Spiess. Four issues of the magazine were produced before formal complaints were made about its content (one objector called it an "official review of pederasty, which clearly proclaims its ignoble program") which lead to an official prosecution. In April of 1925, the magazine changed its name to L'Amitie in an effort to forestall the prosecution, but the principals were eventually convicted of "d'outrage aux bonnes mœurs et de propagation de méthodes anticonceptionnelles" and the two editors were incarcerated for three months. The magazines were printed on inexpensive acidic paper and as a consequence deteriorated rapidly and rarely appear in commerce. This set is in fair condition- all pages are present but many are laid into marbled boards, with browning and chips to edges. Laid in is a 1 pp.TLS regarding Claude Cahun's contribution to L'Amitie. There is a long pencilled notation on the front endpaper about the history of the magazine from the previous owner (noting that he has never seen another collection).
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Privately Printed . This notorious story about a priest's infatuation with a young acolyte that ends in mutual suicide was originally published in the short-lived homosexual magazine The Chameleon. The story raised a public furor during Oscar Wilde's trial because of his association with the magazine and the piece was labeled "garbage and offal" by his critics. The prosecutor in the trial referred to it as "in essence, a teaching of sodomitical practices." Although there is no colophon, the edition of the present volume is reputed to be 50 copies only for private circulation. The book was published by Leonard Smithers according to Nelson (Publisher to the Decadents @ 350) wherein he places the actual publication date at 1905. Mendes 170, Ellmann 403-4, Murray's List 171. Very good in original buff wrappers, some cracking and loss to spine, a bit of edge wear, but a nice copy.
Paris [L'Imprimerie Sainte-Catherine, Bruges] (1920-1921). 2 volumes. 8vo., 220pp.; 166pp. The first, privately issued edition of Gide's influential confessional memoir, issued four years prior to the first published edition, limited to twelve copies. Cyril Connolly, who included the book on his list of the 100 key books of the modern movement wrote that "Gide's autobiography is a work of art or rather the true portrait of the artist as a young man, for his horizon was much larger than Joyce's and he writes with an electric excitement". This first printing includes explicit passages suppressed in both the first published edition (1924) and the first English-language edition (New York, 1935) and was extremely controversial for its description of his sexual encounters with boys in North Africa. Considered one of his greatest works (certainly his most personal and revealing), the memoir recounts Gide's sexual awakening while on a journey to Algeria in 1893-94, where he met Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, who shocked him with their boldness. In Tunisia he lost his virginity at the age of twenty-three to Athman, a fourteen-year-old Arab boy, and came to accept his own homosexuality. Henceforth his published works invoked the never resolved tensions between a strict artistic discipline, a puritanical moralism, and the desire for unlimited sensual indulgence and abandonment to life. The memoir covers the first twenty-six years of his life Gide was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1947, the first openly gay man to have received the award. In the presentation speech offered at the award ceremony, the Swedish Academy stated "The significance of these memoirs thus is indicated in the mysterious Biblical quotation of the grain of wheat which here represents the personality: as long as the latter is sentient, deliberate, and egocentric, it dwells alone and without germinating power; it is only at the price of its death and its transmutation that it will acquire life and be able to bear fruit." Si le Grain ne Meurt was placed on the Catholic Church's list of prohibited books in 1952, the year after Gide's death. Lovely examples in the original wrappers, laid into chemises and slipcases (signed Devauchelle) , raised dentelles, gilt decorations, marbled endpapers. The first volume (this example is #8) was issued in an edition of twelve copies and the second volume (#1) was issued in an edition of thirteen copies. A beautiful example of an important twentieth century document. .
Beloeil [Auguste Poulet-Malassis: 1867]. 75pp. A collection of witty and scandalous anonymous verse by the seventh Prince de Ligne, a soldier-diplomat, belle-lettrist, and notorious seducer. His subjects range from sharp reminiscences of court and military life to a lament on the difficulty of rhyming the French for “buggerer”. Despite his history of fathering numerous illegitimate children, the Prince exalts male companionship and sexuality: for example, the first poem is an ode to the virtues of masturbation, while the second is an assault on an old colonel who prevented the Prince from going on break with his young fellow officers, and the fourth is an epitaph for someone “whose ass suffered diseases that his cock escaped” and who “prayed at the brothel but got a hard-on in church.” A brief note by the Prince introduces each poem, and occasional editorial footnotes are scattered throughout. His poems are followed by a supplement from the filthy 1728 satire Histoire du prince Apprius by Pierre-François Godard de Beauchamp; an editor’s note informs us that it was read in secret by the Prince de Ligne in his adolescence. The satire’s original preface has been transposed to the end by the editor, providing this publication’s title, which, given the contents, might be better translated as Ass-backwards. This book was published in 1867 by Poulet-Malassis, a friend of Baudelaire, from one of two then-surviving exemplars of the final volume of the Prince’s light verse, privately printed ca. 1782. An interesting editorial foreword justifies its publication “for the sake of bibliophiles and learned men” while excusing the scandalous content as the kind of youthful vices “to which the entire history of polite society attests.” The colophon notes the original book was printed “without title, author, place, or date”, but in this re-edition, the still-anonymous author’s identity is only thinly disguised: Beloeil, the given place of publication, is the ancient manor of the House of Ligne. Published in an edition of 70, of which this is one of 16 on Hollande with wide margins. An exceptionally rare survival: only one institutional copy appears on WorldCat, held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Thanks to Connor Wood for the description). Réf. Vercruysse 213. - Launay, "Impressions, publications, écrits d'Auguste Poulet Malassis", Bulletin du bibliophile, 1982, II, pp. 185-208 (cit. p. 190, n° 330). - BGL III:1094 -1095. - Pia 1224. - Pas dans Drujon. - Prov. Comte Sosthène de la Rochefoucauld (note dactylogr.). - Baron de Spandl (vente Simonson, Brux., 8-04-1978, n° 6. Very good in 3/4 morocco boards, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, half-title has a corner missing, light wear to edges. Laid in is a 1 p. typed note indicating the book was purchased in 1951 from the Comte Sosthene de la Rochefoucauld.
NP (1926). sm. 8vo. 367pp. Privately printed first edition of this classic gay novel, usually translated into English as "The Hustler." Der Puppenjunge is the first frank serious literary depiction of the life of a male prostitute, and of the world of the men who support them. The Scots-German anarchist, Mackay, wrote a number of theoretical works that generally appeared under his own name; he adopted the pseudonym "Sagitta" for the small number of defiantly gay novels and "sociological" discourses on the gay life for which he is best known. Der Puppenjunge was described by a contemporary reviewer as belonging "to the few books in the literature on 'our subject' that may raise a claim to art." Christopher Isherwood praised the novel, as well and wrote that "I have always loved this book dearly-despite and even because of its occasional sentimental absurdities." Thomas Riley, in his landmark study of Mackay, calls the novel "one of the strangest stories in modern literature." The novel was entirely financed by Mackay and printed in Holland. Very few of the books were sold in his lifetime and most were destroyed after his death. Very good in original blue cloth binding, lightly worn slipcase. (#433 of 500 copies). See, Schock, Das Buch der schwulen bücher; Tamagne, A History of Homosexuality in Europe @284; Hergemöller, B., Mann für Mann @ 481-82; Riley, T. Germany's Poet-Anarchist.