Meetings with Remarkable Books: The Chakras

 

And here we have yet another in our installment:

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In his classic 1927 monograph THE CHAKRAS, C.W. Leadbeater (long-time associate of the Theosophical Society and founding bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church) collects and updates a series of earlier articles elaborating and synthesizing various eastern doctrines associated with the nadis and chakras. The author claims that his work is among the first published in the English language on the topic. Bibliohead Bookstore is proud to offer for sale a choice first edition of this pioneering work on yoga, replete with several color plates depicting the various energy centers. Published 1927 by the Theosophical Press, Chicago, cloth. Below are two of our favorite chakras.

 

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The Root Chakra

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The Spleen Chakra

Meetings with Remarkable Books: A Treatise on Cosmic Fire

Up next in our metaphysical series: A TREATISE ON COSMIC FIRE

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photo 2A TREATISE ON COSMIC FIRE by Alice A. Bailey is an expansive exploration of speculative physics, psychology and cosmology in a theosophical key (no less than 13 hundred pages!). In fact, the Anglo-American author dedicated the work to her revered teacher Helena Blavatsky, who (in)famously co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875.  First published in 1925, the work purports to have been dictated to the author telepathically from the mind of an ancient master of esoteric lore referred to as “The Tibetan.” Our well preserved copy is a second edition published in 1930,  by Lucis, New York. Highly collectable for lovers of magic, esotericism and metaphysics.

Meetings with Remarkable Books: The Science of Mind

We recently acquired a fantastic load of hard-to-find metaphysical books. We will be featuring some of them over the next few weeks, or until some lucky seeker comes in and buys them up. We are calling this series, Meetings with Remarkable Books, in homage to that mustachioed mystic, G.I. Gurdjieff. First up: The Science of Mind.

Science of Mind

THE SCIENCE OF MIND was written in 1926 by American author Ernest Shurtleff Holmes, well known as founder of the Religious Science movement. The present volume, heavily influenced by the writings of Thomas Troward (whose titles may also be found at Bibliohead) is a foundational text of the movement, a didactic work of practical spiritual instruction, indicating “the technique by which the seeker after truth may obtain freedom from the oppression of a mechanistic civilization.” Seekers-after-truth, BE WARY! Ours is a beautifully maintained copy from 1928 is from the third printing by McBride, New York.

Some Special Collectibles

Well, the holidays are over, which means it’s time to reward yourself for making it through another season; get that present for yourself. So, after taking a photo of yourself wearing that hideous sweater grandma got for you so you can prove what grateful person you are, and after returning it, take that sweater cash down to Bibliohead and check out some of our beautiful books. Despite some brisk business over the holidays we still have many great titles, collectible and plain enjoyable. Here’s a photo of some of the great collectible books we recently acquired.

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and more

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Some specific posts on individual works (with better picture) are forthcoming, including those two dark, imposing tomes on the top left of the above picture. It is a collection of etchings by British landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner. Happy New Year!

 

Come in

Curios: The Gay-Cat

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One of the great, forgotten American road novels, The Gay-Cat: The Story of a Road-Kid and his Dog, is a wonderful example of how a somewhat heavy handed use of vernacular can make a book seem quite different when that vernacular falls into disuse. “A Gay-cat,” according to the book, which thankfully gives a definition a few pages in, is “the scorn of hoboes. He is a fake hobo. He lacks altogether the qualities of a blown-in-the-glass stiff. He will “peach” on his mates.” It goes on in similar fashion, though “peach” could perhaps use a definition.

The book is filled with hard talking hobos, using all sorts of slang. It feels at times a little stilted but then, I am no expert on hobo slang of the early twentieth century, so who knows. I think maybe a dog that the “Road-kid” meets early on is later named Gay-cat, though that seems a little mean given the definition. Either way, the book is filled with great moments of historical interest. A previous owner has written, in pencil, on the front free end-paper a sort of reference page that gives a glimpse of both an unfortunate use of racial epithets among all the other slang, and a concern with labor issues. The first reference labor issues is on page 70 and concerns the importation of cheap labor for work as laborers on a farm, and a fairly astute criticism of the practice. Pages 192-194 concern the I.W.W., while pages 284-286 concern Japanese farm laborers in California. The road-kid is from Grass Valley, a small mining town here in California, not far from San Francisco, and the book takes place largely in California.

“Gaycat, someday when we get tired a bein boes, we’ll go home; back to grass valley and my ma.” Reads the caption.

“Gaycat, someday when we get tired a bein boes, we’ll go home; back to grass valley and my ma.” Reads the caption.

You can come down to the store and check out this and other wonderful titles, or you can find it online, through Abe Books, here.

 

Suzuki Beane

suzukibeane

We just got in a really fantastic children’s book here at Bibliohead: Suzuki Beane by Sandra Scoppettone. The downtown Eloise, Suzuki Beane is the child of Hugh and Marcia, two beatniks of Greenwich village in the early sixties. She writes poems, paints, and eventually finds her hip parents can be just as judgmental and close-minded as any square. The end of the book has hip Suzuki and her square friend Henry going on the road to find a place “where a square could be a square and a swinging cat could swing in peace.”

 This is definitely one of the more interesting children’s books published, including fantastic illustrations by Louise Fitzhugh of Harriet the Spy fame, a great typewriter-style typeface and poetic line breaks, and really aggressive use of slang. “Suzuki’s Glossary” in the back of the book helps those unacquainted with some of the slang make their way through the book.

Suzuki's parents

Suzuki’s parents

 

Suzuki Beane was published in 1961. In 1962 Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball bought the rights and tried to turn into a television show, which would have been an interesting development given Suzuki’s claim that “t.v. was strictly commercialism,” but either way, after making a pilot, nothing came of it. This is a really beautiful book. Come check it out.

Searching for Bobu Diran; or, Bob Dylan’s 115th Japanese Nightmare

Words by Bob Dylan/ボブ・ディラン全詩集We all know this: the internet is an enlightening, informative resource. Except when it infuriatingly isn’t, of course. A good number of collectible, obscure, or just plain peculiar books come across our counter at Bibliohead, and while we use this wide web to sell some of our books online, we also use it to find out more about them (especially those peculiar ones): How rare is this book? What about this particular edition of it? Are some editions worth more than others? Has anybody else even seen a copy of this self-published comic that is so bizarrely hilarious and almost nonexistent online that you almost want to keep it all for yourself and not bother figuring out what it’s worth?

Some esoteric aberrations are the sole foundation for identifying the collectability of a book; typos, for example, are frequently the means by which a true first edition, first printing is differentiated from later printings that appear to be firsts in all other respects — and as you can imagine, the internet is a great place for finding out that if the 9th line of page 47 begins “the bnad” instead of “the band,” then you have something exceedingly rare in your hands.

But sometimes you can barely find a stitch of information about a book, and Google becomes a nightmarish maze of half information, incomplete clues, endless circles and dead ends. Take this book, for example: a bilingual, two-volume collection of the lyrics from Bob Dylan’s first ten albums, containing the English lyrics in one volume and Japanese translations of them in the other.

Words by Bob Dylan/ボブ・ディラン全詩集

It’s on WorldCat.org. And that’s about it, in English at least. But you follow a breadcrumb here to a Japanese fan page there, and you surmise that a certain set of kanji must be the title, so you work with that for a while (even though you don’t know any Japanese and you’re not even sure it’s right to call those kanji), then you chucklingly puzzle your way through Google Translate versions of a dozen or so pages, where you discover that apparently the kanji for “Bob Dylan” is transliterated back to English as “Bobu Diran”… And eventually you get an idea of how rare the book is.

However difficult it is to track down, though, it’s a neat book, so we thought you might like some pictures.

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The free endpapers of each volume look like typewritten pages of the English lyrics, and each volume has its own design elements. The Japanese volume has Dylan’s line drawings scattered throughout. The English volume has contrasting page designs with tracklists between each set of lyrics, and some sections also include writings not from the album itself, such as early versions of songs or other—I assume contemporaneous—poems.

If it does nothing else, it ought to make you unbearably curious how someone translated “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”


Curios is a periodic series about an interesting used book; rare or common, expensive or cheap, we hope it’s a book you didn’t know you were looking for.

First Editions of William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs First Editions

As previewed last week, this is our selection of Burroughs first editions. All of these are the first appearances of the book in that form, though not necessarily of the content. Some of these books are recollected in other publications, and some are collections of earlier collections—for example, White Subway, a collection of magazine pieces, is re-collected in The Burroughs File, but we have first editions of both.

The Burroughs File, Naked Lunch, Early Routines, Roosevelt after Inauguration, White Subway (First Editions)

This initial picture shows some of the rarer firsts we have. In the middle is the first printing of the first edition of Naked Lunch, in the original, first-printing dustjacket This copy is in excellent condition, with very little bumping to the spine edges and only slight chipping on the dustjacket. It’s flanked by, on the left, a rare first edition of The Burroughs File, and on the right, by a true first, numbered edition of Early Routines (this one is from the unsigned, numbered printing).

At the bottom of this image are first editions of two collections of magazine pieces, Roosevelt after Inauguration and White Subway.

The Wild Boys, Nova Express, The Soft Machine, Port of Saints, and Tornado Alley (First Editions)

Here we have firsts of The Wild Boys and Port of Saints, with a first of Tornado Alley on the right (as issued without dustjacket). At bottom are firsts of Nova Express and The Soft Machine.

The Wild Boys (Pulp), The Ticket that Exploded, and Kentucky Ham (First Editions)

This trio has my favorite cover art of all the first editions (hey, I had to come up with some selection criteria…). This is the first US paperback edition of The Wild Boys, followed by the first editions of The Ticket that Exploded and Kentucky Ham.

Interzone (US and UK), Cities of the Red Night, My Education, and Queer (First Editions)

Top and center here is Cities of the Red Night, flanked by the first UK (on the left) and first US (on the right) editions of Interzone. Finishing this set off are firsts of My Education, Burroughs’s dream journal, and Queer.

The Adding Machine and The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (First Editions) And last, here are first editions of The Adding Machine and The Last Words of Dutch Schultz.


We have many, many more Burroughs books in our collection. If you’re looking for something and you don’t see it listed in one of our posts, please email us and we can send you a complete catalog of the Burroughs items we have for sale.

Burroughing In Foreign Tongues

William S. Burroughs | Five Translations

Before I get to the first editions I teased you with in the last post (Soon, very soon! Honest!), I wanted to write a post about our selection of Burroughs books in languages other than English. It’s a small but interesting collection.

At left, you’ll find several of Burroughs original writings in translation. The first two, at top, are the Swedish and and the Norwegian translations of Naked Lunch, Den Nakna Lunchen and Naken Lunsj, respectively.

In the middle are two German translations, Die Vier Apokalyptischen Reiter (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) and Die Elektronische Revolution (The Electronic Revolution). Interestingly, these two are actually “backed with” the English version. If you flipped them over vertically you would find the original English texts printed on the other side, like records or old pulp twofer books.

At bottom is L’ombre d’une chance, a French translation of Ghost of Chance.

While the German/English double-bill volumes are neat, my favorite of our non-English books is the next one, if for no other reason than I had to do a little more research to find out exactly what it is*. It’s called Apomorphine, published by what looks to be a very interesting small press from mid-century Paris called L’Herne, and contains French translations of several pieces first published in US little magazines. There is no English equivalent of this book, so Google and my very poor French had to duke it out, but I gathered, eventually, that it includes translations of “Apomorphine.” “The Day the Records Went Up,” “Coldspring News,” “The Conspiracy,” “Exterminator!,” “Parenthetically 7 Hertz,” and “Chappaqua, a Film by Conrad Rooks.”

Apomorphine | William S. BurroughsApomorphine (Int.) | William S. Burroughs

Interestingly, the text of this book is printed in three, newspaper-style columns on each page, as you can see from the image on the right.

French Criticism about William S. Burroughs

Our last two books are critical evaluations of Burroughs, both in French. The first, simply titled Burroughs, is by Gerard-Georges Lemaire. The second is William S. Burroughs: La vie et l’oeuvre, by Phillipe Mikriamos.

*Incidentally, searching around for information on Apomorphine led me to a fascinating post by Jed Birmingham at RealityStudio.org, a site for Burroughs collectors. Found here, it discusses (with impressive thoroughness and dedication) the interrelations between Burroughs’s drug use, writing activity, and desire to get clean and respectably published.

The Many Forms of Burroughs

Explorer of the other senses that he was, we’ll start the list of our Burroughsiana collection with Burroughs in some of his many other forms. You know Naked Lunch, you know The Wild Boys and Junkie, and we have all kinds of first editions or rare versions or pulp paperbacks that we’ll get to soon. The Seven Deadly Sins | William S. BurroughsBut do you know Burroughs’s more colorful side? Or what he sounds like? Or how trippy his experimental films are? Or that he made films and records with a variety of collaborators?

How about that Burroughs used a shotgun to make art? This rare book, The Seven Deadly Sins, collects images and text made by Burroughs in the early ’90s. The foundation of most of the images are blocks of wood that Burroughs blasted with his signature 12-guage, then painted and silk-screened.

Another interesting item we have is You’re the Guy I Want to Share My Money With, a gate-fold double LP Burroughs made You're the guy I Want to Share My Money With, The Final Academy Documents, Call Me Burroughsin collaboration with John Giorno and Laurie Anderson, with images by Jimmy De Sana and published by Giorno Poetry Systems (two names that you’ll see again in our future lists). Each of the first three sides has works by one of the collaborators, but this is the coolest part: the fourth side is multi-grooved, with three tracks running simultaneously. Which one plays depends upon which one the needle catches when you place it. (The LP version also features tracks not included in later CD reissues.)

Also pictured here: The Final Academy Documents, a collection of Burroughs’s experimental films plus some footage from a reading with John Giorno playing accompaniment at Factory Recrod’s Hacienda Club in Manchester; and Call Me Burroughs, a straight-up, no-frills collection of Burroughs reading from some of his most well-known works.Paper Cloud/Thick Pages: Paintings by Burroughs

The Seven Deadly Sins
Paper Cloud/Thick Pages: Paintings by WSB

Call Me Burroughs (Audio Cassette Tape)
You’re the Guy I Want to Share My Money With (Collaboration between Burroughs, Laurie Anderson, and John Giorno) (Double LP Record)

William S. Burroughs: Commissioner of Sewers, by Klaus Maeck (VHS Tape)
Burroughs: The Movie; dir. By Howard Brookner (VHS Tape)
Destroy All Rational Thought (VHS Tape)
Thee Films: 1950s-1960s (VHS Tape)
The Final Academy Documents, Tape 1: 1962/3, Tape 2: 1982 (VHS Tape)

Burroughs (dir. by Brookner), Commissioner of Sewers, Thee Films: 1950s-1960s,  Destroy All Rational Thought,