A Little Love-Letter, by Joseph Ashby-Sterry

Although Ashby-Sterry loved girls of various ages, he clearly stated his preference for 16-year-old ones, while he often called younger ones ‘pet’. Thus he did not love them in the same manner as older ones, and in some way he considered them as less intelligent beings. Indeed, he often presented them as little animals. For instance one poem in the collection Boudoir Ballads is titled “Little Chinchilla”, and it required me some effort to decide whether it is about a girl or a little furry animal, and finally I could settle for a girl by reading another poem in another collection, “January” in The Lazy Minstrel, where he writes “To Miss Chinchilla you confide, / How proud you are to be her guide;” another poem in the latter collection, “The Kitten”, explicitly compares a 10-year-old girl to a kitten. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

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Aleister Crowley: Femmes damnées

The poet Aleister Crowley during his Cambridge years

Many poems in Crowley’s collection Rodin in Rime (1907) have a French title; this one, “Femmes damnées” (meaning ‘doomed women’), comes from two poems in Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire, one of which (subtitled “Delphine et Hippolite”) was banned by the French censorship between 1857 and 1949. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Charles Baudelaire : Le Vin

Saturno Buttò – Mixed technique on paper cm. 58×39 – from saturnobutto.com

Baudelaire publia en 1851 le court essai Du vin et du haschisch, comparés comme moyens de multiplication de l’individualité, qui étudie les effets des deux drogues sur la personnalité, le comportement et l’inspiration. Plusieurs éditions l’incluent dans Les Paradis artificiels, bien qu’il n’en fasse pas partie. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Aleister Crowley: Annie

Léon Perrault – Little girl with a bouquet of flowers (1896)

Rosa Mundi, and other love-songs is a collection of 28 numbered poems, first published in 1905. It starts with a very long poem, itself called “Rosa Mundi”. Poems numbered 4 to 13 are titled by names of girls. The most charming is the fourth, where a boy secretly offers three flowers to a girl, but in return she has only one secret flower to offer him. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: The Poe Cottage

The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, The Bronx, New York City

Around May 1846, Edgar Allan Poe moved in a small and humble cottage in The Bronx, New York City, with his wife Virginia Eliza Clemm and her mother Maria. It would be the last home of the couple. Virginia died of tuberculosis in the cottage’s first floor bedroom on January 30, 1847; then Edgar died in mysterious circumstances in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, while he was travelling back home from Richmond. Upon hearing the news of his death, his mother-in-law Maria moved out of the cottage. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Alfred Edgar Coppard: Yokohama Garland

John Singer Sargent – Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1885-6) – Tate Britain N01615

Alfred Edgar Coppard (1878–1957) was an English author, best known for his short stories, but who also wrote poetry. After a youth spent in poverty, around 1920 he joined a literary group in Oxford, then published his first book in 1921; he continued writing and publishing throughout his life. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: The Proposals

Ruth Jonas – illustration for “The Proposals” in Venus Invisible (1928)

In 1928 appeared Nathalia Crane’s fourth collection of poetry, Venus Invisible and Other Poems. Again, the title comes from one of the poems, but in this case not a noteworthy one. In my opinion, the most important work in the book is the long poem “Tadmor”, a strange oriental love tale with dreams and premonitions, ending in mutual worship; it is organised like an opera, alternating story, dialogues and chorus songs. In this book, the 15-year-old author shows her fully adult sophistication, which had manifested itself growingly in her previous collections of verses. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

De Quincey et la petite fille misérable, d’après Baudelaire

Zhenya Gay – illustration for Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey (1950) – The Heritage Press, New York

Après le recueil de poèmes Les Fleurs du mal, l’œuvre la plus célèbre de Charles Baudelaire est l’essai Les Paradis artificiels, publié en 1860, consacré à l’usage récréatif des drogues, plus précisément du haschisch et de l’opium. Il connut un large succès, il reste un exposé classique des effets de la drogue, comme l’exaltation, puis la dépendance et la souffrance. D’ailleurs l’expression “paradis artificiels” est couramment utilisée pour désigner l’utilisation de drogues (en particulier hallucinogènes) pour stimuler l’imagination ou enivrer les sens. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

The wretched little girl in De Quincey’s Confessions

Frank Holl – Faces in the Fire (1867) – The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

The English writer Thomas Penson De Quincey (b. August 15, 1785; d. December 8, 1859) knew fame with his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, published anonymously in two parts in the September and October 1821 issues of the London Magazine, then released in book form in 1822. In 1845, De Quincey published Suspiria de Profundis, advertised as being a sequel to the Confessions. Then in 1856 he revised his Confessions, which became much longer. Since then, the two are usually published together, their complete titles being Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Being an Extract from the Life of a Scholar, and Suspiria de Profundis: Being a Sequel to the “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.” CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…