Item Details

Ashton Rare Books

Specialising in High Quality Fine Editions. Particularly Modern First Editions (Fiction), Plays (mainly 20th century), Signed and Association copies, Uncommon Editions, Children's Literature (mainly 20th century) and illustrated books. We are members of both the PBFA and ABA and practise under their guidance.

The Tale of Archais. A Romance in Verse


The sole UK printing. Original olive green paper-covered boards with white cloth spine and paper title label. The BOOK is in Very Good+ condition. The binding remains tight. The board edges are slightly rubbed in places. The spine and label are toned and the spine label is rubbed to one of its edges, but the lettering is just about complete. Light offsetting to the end papers otherwise the book is clean internally with no inscriptions. The book is protected in a loose Mylar archival cover. According to Duncombe-Jewell the edition comprised 250 cloth-bound copies on hand-made paper (as this copy), and 2 copies on vellum. There are three known binding variants of the hand-made paper edition, respectively, olive green, slate-blue, and brick-red paper covered boards. The order of precedence has never been established although they were most likely published simultaneously. A story in verse, 'The Tale of Archais' is commonly said to be Crowley's second published book following 'Aceldama', although uncertainty remains as to whether or not his clandestinely-published 'White Stains' preceded it. Crowley issued 'The Tale of Archais' under the pseudonym 'A Gentleman of the University of Cambridge', the same nom de plume that he had used for 'Aceldama'. The choice of pseudonym was most likely a sort of hommage to Shelley, who wrote his gothic novel 'St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian, A Romance', under the nom de plume 'A Gentleman of the University of Oxford', although Crowley may well have been aware of early uses of the 'Cambridge' version, including by the author of a history of tobacco. Extremely scarce with only one copy having appeared at auction in the last 40 years