Tag Archives: Vanity Fair

Five new items by Aleister Crowley from Vanity Fair 1916

I added five new items by Aleister Crowley from the pages of Vanity Fair in 1916. There’s a couple of articles, some written pseudonymously, and some more poetry I think hasn’t been collected anywhere before. One of the articles is a historical political piece which will probably be of interest to a variety of people; another is a kind of review of Ratan Devi’s performances in New York by Crowley, which is Crowley promoting the work of a love interest under a pseudonym; the final article is an odd little spoof piece purporting to detail the scientific management of blondes (which also includes an interesting fake comment from the Editor chidding the piece for appearing to favour the Germans). Then there’s two poems, one begins “A cigar is like a wife!” and the second “When first your raven beauty made me fond” seems to be related to the article about blondes.

You can read a bit more about Aleister Crowley, his affair with Ratan Devi, and this period of time when Crowley was in New York in Chapter 12 of Richard Kaczynski‘s Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley and also, I happened onto this today, for another perspective in “The savant and the occultist” by Richard Boyle. Of course, don’t forget that the Confessions of Aleister Crowley are online at the library.

Three Great Hoaxes of the War
Blessed Are They That Have Not Seen and Yet Have Believed
By Aleister Crowley
Vanity Fair, January, 1916, p 37,118

Anna of Havana
By Aleister Crowley
With Drawings by Reginald Birch
Vanity Fair, January, 1916, p 43

To a Brunette
Addressed to His Beloved, after a short absence
By Aleister Crowley
Sketches by Reginald Birch
Vanity Fair, February, 1916, p 63

Ratan Devi: Indian Singer
By Sri Paramahansa Tat (Aleister Crowley)
Vanity Fair, May, 1916, p 79

On the Management of Blondes
Prolegomena to Any System of Philosophy Devoted to Their Treatment and Care
By Dionysus Carr (Aleister Crowley), Professor of Eugenics in the University of Tübingen
Vanity Fair, May, 1916, p 85

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“If only a man could found a ‘Famous Authors Film Producing Company’ and give the authors a fair chance and a free hand, and then employ real artists for the costumes,—a real tailor for the men’s clothes;—real decorators for the indoor sets; real ladies to look after the manners of the actors, and real architects to design the houses, he would be able to take up the whole of Liberty Loan out of his first year’s profits.” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“MILLIONS of dollars have already been lost in the movies by the many errors indicated above; and it may be well to point out that the public recognizes that the business is everywhere approaching a grave crisis. You, gentlemen, who are still making money, take heed: you are going to lose it in another few months unless you learn a little something about good taste in matters of art.” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“O, purblind crew of miserable men, cannot you see that the only way to succeed in the movies, or in any art, is to get the men who really know how, to create new effects of art, and then to trust them implicitly? The worst author is better, as an author, than the best ‘producer’ or ‘director,’ however highly paid, unless he sticks to his business of visualizing, with sympathy and fidelity, the author’s conceptions and ideals.

The only good films, the only popular films, are those by living authors of repute, who have somehow been able to insist upon having their conceptions literally carried out, and not meddled with by a band of misguided and inartistic managers.” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“ANOTHER point is the question of ‘new stuff.’ One enterprising movie manager did actually go so far as to engage a set of competent artists—at $150 per diem, all told—to get out new ideas for him: original costumes, lights, scenery, and all the rest of it. They produced new ideas. ‘Fine! Fine!’ cried he. Then a horrid doubt seized him. ‘But this isn’t a bit like what we’ve been used to!’ he stammered. ‘No,’ they said, ‘it’s new. You said ‘new,’ you know!’ ‘That’s right, I did,’ he cried, ‘but, say, the public wouldn’t stand for this, it’s too new.'” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“Several times, of late, I have seen films where the tinkers had improved a good novel out of existence. The beginning, end, and middle of the story had been dexterously amputated or ‘arranges.’ We were not informed of the relationship existing between the various characters; the motives for their acts were utterly obscure. A ‘situation’ would ultimately arise—and then, instead of a dénouement, the film stopped suddenly!

One felt as if one had somehow got into a lunatic asylum.” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“In the movies this confusion is accentuated to the point of dementia. What costumes! What furniture! What ladies! What ballrooms! What clubs! What love scenes! What butlers and footmen! What dinner tables! What débutantes! What boot and slippers! What coiffures! What jewelry! What manners!” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“But his successors have not his willpower. To-day every inartistic man in a movie production must needs have a finger in the artistic pie. Some of their suggestions may possibly be good, some bad; but the unity and coherence of the author’s conceptions are lost, and the outcome is a muddle. Ne sutor ultra crepidam. Too many cooks spoil the broth.” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“TO return to the question of the author. Who invented modern musical comedy? Gilbert and Sullivan. Gilbert insisted–made it a point in every contract or license–that his libretto was to have no cuts, no modifications, no gags; even his minutest stage directions were to be followed implicitly.–Take it or leave it. Most of his stuff is therefore as strong and sound and playable today as it ever was.” [via]

What’s Wrong with the Movies? by Aleister Crowley in Vanity Fair, Jul 1917.

“MODERN opera is suffering in the same way. The only pains taken at the Metropolitan, let us say, is with the hiring of the singers; but they are not stunned, carried out themselves by the glory of witnessing a really artistic operatic creation. There is everywhere evident this same blind fatuity in the movies.” [via]