Tag Archives: George Sylvester Viereck

Odyssey of a Barbarian

Odyssey of a Barbarian: The Biography of George Sylvester Viereck by Elmer Gertz, from Prometheus Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Elmer Gertz Odyssey of a Barbarian from Prometheus Books

“It is time that a new look is taken at George Sylvester Viereck,once a most famous figure in the literary, journalistic, and political life of America, and now under a cloud. Viereck was a friend of the giants of the twentieth century, such as Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Nikola Tesla, Frank Harris, President Theodore Roosevelt, and Colonel Edward M. House. He was the only spokesman for the last German Emperor and a Hohenzollern himself through his controversial father, the illegitimate son of a famed Berlin actress and a scion of the royal house. Viereck’s father became a Socialist member of the German Reichtag. As a mere boy, George Sylvester Viereck, an emigre from his native Germany, wrote poetry that was acclaimed as showing the genius of a young Goethe. He edited several controversial magazines, including The Fatherland during the first World War when it was a miracle that he escaped prison or lynching. He was the coauthor of a series of highly original novels about the Wandering Jew, commencing with My First 2000 Years. He was the first popularizer of psychoanalysis, with the blessing of its father, Freud. He was imprisoned for five years during the second World War, because of technical defects in his registration as a foreign agent. In prison he wrote some of his most moving poetry, here reproduced. He is the father of Peter Viereck, the Pulitzer Prize poet, who encouraged Gertz in the writing of this book.

This lively definitive life of Viereck is written by Elmer Gertz, himself a man of considerable parts. As a lawyer, he got the thrill killer Nathan Leopold paroled from prison, a result of which the vulnerable Viereck was surprisingly skeptical. Gertz helped get the death sentences of Jack Ruby, Paul Crump and William Witherspoon set aside. He was the successful plaintiff in a landmark libel case involving the John Birch Society, in which the U.S. Supreme Court revolutionized the law of libel.

His first book, published in 1931, was a still esteemed life of Frank Harris. His latest book, recently published, is Henry Miller: Years of Trial and Triumph, the correspondence of himself and Miller, whom he represented in the famous Tropic of Cancer litigation.

Viereck and Gertz were close friends for many years, despite their strong differences, often almost violently expressed. They exchanged hundreds of fascinating letters, many of which are woven into this delightful study. The book deals objectively with Viereck, a feat impossible for most students of the much hated man. It will excite even those who have never heard of Viereck.” — back cover

Golden Twigs

Golden Twigs by Aleister Crowley, the 1988 collected edition from Teitan Press, edited and introduced by Martin P Starr, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Aleister Crowley's Golden Twigs from Teitan Press

This is a collection of short stories written by Crowley in the Summer of 1916, during his “Great Magical Retirement” on the shores of “Lake Pasquaney” (Newfound Lake, New Hampshire) in a cabin owned by Evangeline Adams. Of the eight tales, all inspired by themes from Sir James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough, six appeared in the pages of George Sylvester Viereck’s The International, but two were previously unpublished, in spite of several efforts, until this volume.


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The Revival of Magick and The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic

The Revival of Magick is the third new edition from 100th Monkey Press, available in a hand-bound limited edition.

Aleister Crowley's The Revival of Magick from 100th Monkey Press

Aleister Crowley’s essay “The Revival of Magick” was originally published under the pseudonym “The Master Therion” in a four part series in The International: A Review of Two Worlds from August through November 1917. Crowley’s affiliation with The International occurred during his five-year stay in America from 1914 through 1919. Not long after his arrival, Crowley found himself in financial straits and found a partial solution in the form of George Sylvester Viereck, a writer and editor who owned two journals, The Fatherland and The International.

The Fatherland was a propaganda journal funded by the German government designed to promote pro-German thought and to help keep America out of World War I. Crowley began by writing pro-German articles for The Fatherland and soon began writing for The International as well in July 1915.

Over the ensuing years he contributed various articles and poetry and became managing editor of The International in August of 1917. At this point the journal became a primary outlet for Crowley’s writings and he began writing a large portion of the journal employing various pseudonyms to disguise the fact that he was the primary contributor.

Besides being an outlet for his poetry and short stories, The International provided him a vehicle to advocate the message of Thelema through such essays as “The Revival of Magick.” [via]

Aleister Crowley's The Revival of Magick from 100th Monkey Press interior

Each book is bound by hand in a Japanese style binding and measures 5 1/2” x 8 1/2″. 48 pages. Printed in blue and black on 70 pound text weight, acid-free paper specifically chosen for this edition. Bound in an acid-free, glued-up composition cover consisting of textured black faux leather over custom printed endpapers. Text set in both Freehand and High Tower text. Illustrations include reproductions of the original covers from The International and a self-portrait by Crowley of him evoking the great demon Paimon to visible appearance.

As an added bonus, each book comes with a hand-bound copy of Crowley’s “The Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic.”

Each copy also includes a handsome themed bookplate and bookmark.

Edition limited to 150 numbered copies. Price: US $14.95 [via]