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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Plain Facts for Young WomenWritten in 1938, Bell Wood-Comstock’s Plain Facts for Young Women on Marijuana, Narcotics, Liquor and Tobacco offers advice for those ladies whose goal is to get married and settle down with children.  Wood-Comstock wrote several books on advice for women, focusing on personal hygiene, raising children, and maintaining a feminine allure.  Using a mix of motherly advice and medical information, Wood-Comstock suggests that smoking and drinking will lead women to premature aging, nervousness and divorce.   Although at one point she explains that since men are allowed to drink and smoke women have the same rights, but then continues on to say that women are much more negatively affected than men and should be more careful.
Plain Facts for Young Women
Wood-Comstock doesn’t shy away from describing the negative aspects of heavy drug use, explaining the physical effects of addiction to substances like heroin and cocaine, and summing up with, “the path of the drug addict is the road to hell.”  She also describes women whose lives have been ruined by drugs including a young woman of 22 is convicted of murder.

Plain Facts for Young WomenIncluded in this advice book are amusing illustrations to really accentuate Wood-Comstock’s stories.  Whether showing the way alcohol affects the brain, or nicotine affects the nerves, the images lighten the message and the advice can be easier accepted. Plain Facts for Young Women

 

 

 

 

Plain facts for girls and young women on narcotics, liquor, and tobacco / by Belle Wood-Comstock ; in collaboration with Alonzo L. Baker. Mountain View, Calif. : Pacific Press Pub. Association, c1938 is in Widener Library’s collection.

 

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

“Tintin is myself.  He reflects the best and brightest in me: he is my successful double…Tintin has accomplished many things on my behalf.” -Hergé

Tintin who was created by Hergé, a pen name of Georges Prosper Remi, is known to many as the reporter turned detective whose stories chronicle his adventures chasing various villans and criminals throughout the world.  Tintin first appeared in the 1929 pages of Le Petit Vingtième, a children’s supplement to Le Vingtième Siècle.

Tintin’s story, serialized over a period of months in the paper, was set in the Soviet Union much to the displeasure of Hergé.  Abbé Norbert Wallez, who was the editor of the paper and a vocal fascist, ordered Hergé to set the initial series in the Soviet Union so that Tintin in the Land of the Soviets became a kind of anti-socialist propaganda for children.  In keeping with the deeply conservative tenor of the paper Hergé wrote several more Tintin series that took place in the Congo and America, which though popular at the time, would most likely be considered paternalistic and anti-capitalist by today’s standards.

Eventually Hergé sent Tintin on more escapist adventures including Le Temple du Soleil or Prisoners of the Sun.

In this story Tintin and Captain Haddock attempt to resuce the kidnapped Professor Calculus and become prisoners of a lost Incan civilization.  Widener has copies of many of the stories in both French and English including Le Temple du soleil.  Tintin was so popular that Hergé entered into a partnership wtih American publisher Casterman Hallmark to produce a series of pop-up books known as “Pop Hop.”  The books are an abridged version of the stories and use these fabulous pop-up illustrations to show the reader about the perilous circumstances of our trusty hero and his sidekicks, including Snowy the fox terrier.

We can also get a glimpse of Captain Haddock as the comic relief.


The popularity of Tintin is still quite clear today with the visibility of the character in popular culture, various films, merchandising, and even the Musée Hergé which features rotating exhibits of Tintin materials.  To find more Tintin pop-ups in Widener’s collection look here:

Le temple du soleil / Hergé. Tournai ; Paris : Casterman, c1970.

Le tresor de Rackham le Rouge / Hergé. Tournai ; Paris : Casterman, c1970.

L’ile noire / Hergé. Tournai ; Paris : Casterman, c1970.

Le sceptre d’ottokar / Hergé. Tournai ; Paris : Casterman, c1971.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

Hasheesh 1 detailThis post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

The Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, founded in San Francisco in 1970 and formed from the libraries of several private collectors, was a preeminent collection of drug-related literature. Upon its closure, it was acquired by Julio Santo Domingo, substantially bolstering his own collection on the subject; the merged collections formed the Ludlow Santo Domingo Library, now residing here at Harvard as the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

High TideIn his book High Tide, Brad Johannsen really brings Herman Hesse and Lao Tzu’s writing to life with colorful and psychedelic illustrations.  The book contains the story ‘Piktor’s Metamorphasis,” a spiritual tale telling of loneliness after Piktor has been tricked by a serpent and wished to be turned into a tree.    Luckily, in the end a young girl comes and joins him in tree form and he is able to truly understand the importance of creation and how it is always continuing.KIC_Image_8

The book also includes an adapted fable by Lao Tzu about the Frog King and his bottom frogs.  The bottom frogs are told that a skylark that comes and sings of a beautiful other place is speaking of a world that they will go to after they die if they do the king’s bidding.   A philosopher frog speaks up and claims that maybe the skylark is really speaking of a place that exists now, but in the end they capture the skylark and put him in a museum.

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Although the stories give interesting philosophical ideas, the truly excellent part of the book is the illustrations.  Drawn by Brad Johannsen in bright neon colors and full of fantastic creatures, they draw the reader through the stories and create a visual trip.

High tide / by Brad Johannsen with Bob Brockway and Karen Ghen; with Piktor’s metamorphosis by Herman Hesse; stories by Hermann Hesse and Lao Tzu. New York : Crown Publishers, [1972] is in Widener Library’s collection.
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Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

The term “devil’s picture books” was used by the Puritans to refer to playing cards in hopes that it would prevent people from using them.  In the book by the same name, Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer gives a history of playing cards, including the origins relating to the game of chess, how cards were named and explanations of traditions in different countries.  She also explains the relationship of current card decks to the original tarot, and the way in which the suits came to be.

 

 

 

Her history begins with the movement of cards from Asia to Europe and explains, “The first packs consisted of seventy-eight cards, – that is, of four suits of numeral cards; and besides these there were twenty-two emblematic picture cards, which were called Atous or atouts, — a word which M. Duchesne, a French writer, declares signifies ‘above all’.”  She continues on to explain the names of the suits and how the face cards came about.

 

Included in the book are wonderful illustrations of different types of card decks, depicting ones from all around the world.   Many of them are intricately designed and wouldn’t even be recognizable as playing cards today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book The devil’s picture-books.  A history of playing cards, by Mrs. John King Van Renssalaer…London, T.F. Unwin, 1892.  can be retrieved from Widener Library.

 

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Today’s Santo Domingo feature has a title that suggests a sensationalist pulp novel. My life in a love cult: a warning to all young girls is, however, an exposé, written by Alma Hirsig under the pseudonym Marian Dockerill, High Priestess of Oom.

Alma Hirsig’s more famous sister was Leah Hirsig. Growing up in New York City in the early twentieth century, both sisters took an interest in the occult, which led them to a visit with the ubiquitous Aleister Crowley in 1918. Crowley took a particular interest in Leah, and the two quickly took up as lovers; Leah taking the name Alostrael, “the womb of God”. She supported Crowley as he developed the philosophical law of Thelema, with its famous maxim “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, and the pair founded the attendant Abbey of Thelema in Cefalù, Italy. Crowley’s “Scarlet Woman” served as a muse: he painted several portraits of her, as well as writing poetry unprintable in this space. Even after their strained relationship ultimately ended, Leah continued to promote Thelema, though in time she would come to reject Crowley himself as a prophet.

While Leah adopted Thelema wholeheartedly, her sister Alma was drawn instead to Pierre Bernard, the yogi, mystic, con man, and philanderer. Bernard founded the Tantrik Order of America in 1905, and was also in possession of a great library of volumes in Sanskrit. It is to Bernard that we owe the exaggerated association between Tantra and sex in the United States. He was charismatic and controlling: by the time Alma Hirsig encountered him, he had already been imprisoned once for kidnapping, a charge levied by two teenage girls once his disciples. Hirsig nonetheless became the High Priestess to his Omnipotent Oom. She later recanted her faith, and in 1928 published My life in a love cult, primarily an exposé of Bernard and of American Tantric practice in general. In this illustrated magazine-format volume, Hirsig recounts her life story from her “highly-sexed nature” in youth, to her and Leah’s first encounter with Crowley in New York, through to Bernard’s manipulations, and finally to her freedom from Bernard. The volume concludes with “Marian Dockerill’s confidential advice”, a question-and-answer segment of Hirsig’s romantic advice to young women and men.

Alma Hirsig Bliss. My life in a love cult. Dunellen, N.J.: Published by the Better Publishing Company, [1928]. AC9.D6585.928m.

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

A Deal with the Devil

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

The book of ceremonial magic; the secret tradition in Goëtia, including the rites and mysteries of Goëtic theurgy, sorcery, and infernal necromancy was written by Arthur Wedward Waite and published in 1961.  Ceremonial magic includes material originally published in The book of black magic and of pacts in 1898 along with numerous additions.  In his preface Waite states that the majority of texts of magical literature are inaccessible because they are in rare manuscripts and books so he has created a “systematic account of magical procedure” for the masses.

Waite heavily references the texts of a man named Eliphas Levi, also known as Alphonse Louis Constant, who was born the son of a Paris shoemaker around 1810.  Levi was a deacon, but left the church after he developed strong convictions outside of his faith, which led him to join a socialistic religious sect.  Because of this sect he was eventually imprisioned for several months, and after that he then devoted himself to magical and mystical studies.  Widener has a number of Levi’s texts including Dogme et rituel de la haute magie, which features The Sabbatic Goat image whom Levi regards as a “pantheistic and magical figure of the absolute” and not connected to Black Magic. 

Waite’s text is a very systematic approach to how to perform ceremonial magic including the rites, incantations, and materials that are necessary to be successful.  For example this full page plate features the Goetic circle of black evocations and pacts, again according to Levi.  The text describes in detail that the circle is formed by human skin and the four necessary objects are the skull of a parricide (one who killed their parent), the horns of a goat, a male bat that has been drowned in blood, and a black cat that has fed on human flesh.

The operator and their assistants stand within the circles of the triangle when they summon a spirit in Lucifer’s employ to make a pact.  There is also a script as to how to address the spirit

It is my wish to make a pact with thee, so as to obtain wealth at thy hands immediately, failing which I will torment thee by the potent words of the Clavicle.”

Helpfully included are instructions on how to prevent the loss of your soul when making this type of pact in a sort of magical legalese.  To learn about more pacts and incantations check out Waite’s The book of ceremonial magic; the secret tradition in Goëtia, including the rites and mysteries of Goëtic theurgy, sorcery, and infernal necromancy. New Hyde Park, N.Y., University Books [1961]. BF1611 .W3 1961.  which can be found in Widener’s collection.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Grace Thompson Seton was many things, a feminist, a suffragette, a poet, a mother, a designer, a crack shot, and most relevant to this post a travel writer.  She was married to Ernest Thompson Seton who was a natural scientist and author of many books including Animal heroes : being the histories of a cat, a dog, a pigeon, a lynx, two wolves & a reindeer and in elucidation of the same over 200 drawings.  Grace is credited with designing the cover, title-page, and general make up of Animal heroes and it is likely that she designed the cover for her own books including Poison Arrows.  Both were naturalists and Ernest co-founded the Boy Scouts of America while Grace helped form a parallel orgaization that would eventually become the Camp Fire Girls.

Seton gives us a fascinating look at a very independent early 20th-century woman.  Her expeditions took her all over the world and she traveled to Egypt, India, China, South America, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bali among others.  After her daughter Ann was grown up she refused to stop traveling and remain at home with her husband.  Ernest eventually took up with his much younger married secretary in 1922, though the official divorce wasn’t until 1935.  Poison Arrows was her last travel book and one of the most interesting.  In Saigon she was only able to locate one person that was willing to take her into the jungle and he was a self-professed opium addict.  The combination of an unusal guide and exotic locales make it an interesting read though many critics were dismissive of her writing.  The book includes a fabulous fold out map that chronicles her last journey into Indochina.

Ironically it was her least profitable book most likely due to the Depression and the looming of World War II.  After Poison Arrows she turned to promoting womens’ literature as well as publishing a few volumes of poetry.  If you are interested in more information about Seton her papers can be found at the Schlesinger Library, Seton- Thompson, Grace Gallatin. Papers, 1878-1989: A Finding Aid.

Poison arrows : strange journey with an opium dreamer, Annam, Cambodia, Siam, and the Lotos Isle of Bali / by Grace Thompson Seton. London : Travel Book Club, c1938. DS508.S45x 1938b.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

We return to the occult in this week’s feature from the Santo Domingo Collection. Today’s author is Austin Osman Spare, an English artist, writer, and occultist active in the first half of the twentieth century. While Spare’s finely-wrought illustrations recall the Art Nouveau conventions popular during his formative years, their imagery is more sexual, monstrous, and grotesque in nature. Spare was also an occultist with an idiosyncratic philosophy of consciousness and desire; he used automatic writing and drawing, among other techniques, to limn out his ideas. Among those drawn to Spare’s work was Aleister Crowley, who invited Spare to join his magical order, the A∴A∴; the two had a falling out not long afterward.

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Ghost Detective

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

 

There are many spin-offs of Sherlock Holmes, and some excellent ones from the early 20th century are Jean Ray’s Harry Dickson, le Sherlock Holmes Americain.   This series of pulp dime-novel’s originally started in Germany 1907 and continued until 1911.  It underwent several  different translations and versions and the one in the Santo Domingo Collection is one of the more interesting ones.

Hired to translate the originals, Jean Ray, a noted Flemish author, became tired of the stories and began writing new ones under the same series without signing them.   These new stories mimic the length and illustration style of the originals but the stories tended to be more in the fantasy genre since Ray was a horror author. 

Widener has several more of Jean Ray’s works which can be found here:  Le grand nocturne : Les cercles de l’épouvante, Les derniers contes de Canterbury, and Œuvres complètes.

 

Two volumes of Harry Dickson’s adventures can be requested from Widener:  Ray, Jean, 1887-1964, author. La maison des hallucinations. Paris : Messageries Hachette and Une fumerie d’opium parisienne. Amsterdam : Roman-Boek-en-Kunsthandel.

 

 

 

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

Whodunit and howdunit?

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Alexandre Lacassagne was a French physician and criminologist in the 19th-century.  He founded the Lacassagne School of Criminology which was based in Lyon, France and focused on medical jurisprudence and criminal anthropology.  He quite famously gave evidence in several criminal trials including that of Joseph Vacher, also known as “The French Ripper” who had a scarred face, an accordian, and a trademark white rabbit-fur hat.  Vacher attempted to claim insanity from a rabid dog bite, but Lacassange testified that he was sane, thus he was found guilty and executed by guillotine in 1898.

Lacassagne specialized in toxicology, was a pioneer in bloodstain analysis, and was an expert in identifying specific bullet markings from guns.  This particular volume of Précis de médecine judiciaire explores various aspects of medical jurisprudence and includes these color plates that illustrate the appearance of organs due to specific conditions or perilous circumstances.  For example the plate on the left is an example of the state of the thoracic organs in a case of suffication accompanied by the image of a furrow of the neck resulting from a hanging.  The other plate displays the difference between two sets of lungs in an infant, one which is able to breath normally and one which does not.

To learn more about the early days of forensic medicine check out Précis de médecine judiciaire / par A. Lacassagne. Paris : G. Masson, 1878. RA1051 .L12 1878  which can be found at the Countway Library at the Harvard Medical School in Longwood.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager and Joan Thomas, Rare Book Cataloger at Countway for contributing this post.

Pacifist rats

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo collection.

By the controversial nature of its subject areas, the Santo Domingo Collection naturally includes a wealth of banned, censored, or otherwise suppressed literature. Ronge-maille vainqueur, a text by the French novelist Lucien Descaves and illustrated by Lucien LeForge, is one example. This edition, published in 1920, includes a facsimile of a manuscript note from Descaves explaining that while the manuscript was produced in 1917, its publication was “forbidden by the censors” for the subsequent three years.

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Witches have always fascinated people, from the magical tales of Merlin to the Salem Witch trials, to the current trend of magic and vampires in popular culture.  Written by Colin Wilson and illustrated by Una Woodruff, Witches is an intricately and beautifully illustrated history of witchcraft.  A comprehensive guide from primitive sorcery up through modern witchcraft, Wilson touches on everything someone could want to know about witches. 

Next to sections on well-known witches such as Aleister Crowley, The Templars, and Jayne Mansfield, Wilson gives insight on research into magic and spells such as the witches’ salve and possession.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using research from Albert Hoffman and Richard Shultes, Wilson explains the hallucinogenic results that experimenters found when searching for witches’ salve to make them fly.

Both Woodruff and Wilson have worked extensively on magic and witchcraft related projects.  You can find Introduction to the Faces of Evil by Wilson and Amarant: the flora and fauna of Atlantis by a Lady Botanist, edited and compiled by Woodruff.

Witches / written by Colin Wilson ; [illustrated by] Una Woodruff.  Limpsfield, Surrey : Paper Tiger, c1981.  BF1563 .W572 can be requested from Harvard Depository.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

Superb specimens

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo collection.

Herbarium for pharmaceutical students was produced by Alban Edward Lomax, a 19th-century pharmacist that hailed from Liverpool, England.  An herbarium is essentially a collection of preserved plant specimens typically arranged by a specific nomenclature and classification.  There isn’t a great deal of information about Lomax though I was able to find some interesting facts in the Journal of Botany : British and Foreign from 1894.  According to the journal Lomax lived a fairly secluded life that was consumed with botanical pursuits.  Many of his specimens were collected through exchanges with other colleagues both in America and in Europe.  It is thought that his personal herbarium was purchased by the University of Liverpool upon his death at the age of thirty-three.

This particular volume is quite rare and we were unable to locate any other copies in libraries in the United States.  The individual leaves are in beautiful shape and include about 80 plant specimens such as cannabis, opium poppy, fennel, and black alder. Ancient herbalists believed that the leaves of the black alder cured cancer of the face, throat, and tongue, though today it is more commonly believed to reduce breast inflammation for nursing mothers. 

Check out other specimens in the Herbarium for pharmaceutical students / A.E. Lomax, Liverpool. Liverpool : A.E. Lomax, [probably between 1881 and 1894] which can be found at the Botany Libraries.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, Gretchen Wade, Judith Warnement, and Chris Robson of the Botany Libraries for contributing to this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

This 1882 volume of Poe’s poetry and essays, accompanied by biographical information and commentary on the poems, is a fine example of the publishers’ cloth bindings of its period. In response to broadening literacy and therefore increasing demand, publishers in the early 19th century began producing books with reinforced cloth bindings; in earlier generations, publishers had provided only loose sheets or plain boards intended to be bound by the owner. As these cloth bindings became the norm, publishers adapted their bindings to the styles of the times, producing ornate decorative cloth, enhanced with stamping in blind and in various colors, a wide array of grain patterns, and various illustrative techniques. Such covers both attracted buyers and justified their position alongside the fine leather bindings of previous generations.

The Poe volume is ornate indeed, decorated elaborately in gilt and black over a green pebble-grained field. The filigreed panel in the center of the front cover gives as much prominence to Moxon’s popular poets, the series to which the book belongs, as to the author himself.

The poetical works of Edgar Allen Poe. London : Ward, Lock, & Co., [1882?] AC8.P7524.B882p.

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Sometimes you come across something so gruesome that even though you want to look away, you can’t.  Le Musée des Supplices certainly fits that description.  A book that gives the history of torture written by Roland Villeneuve, a French parapsychologist interested in demonology and the esoteric, Le Musée des Supplices, is split into sections including ones on executioners and their instruments as well as torture in film and literature.  Some of the illustrations are in vivid color and depict such torture tactics as crucifixion and the flaying of skin.

Villeneuve includes both the torturing of humans as well as fighting and killing demons such as vampires in this book.

He also discusses death and resurrection as well as torture in religious practices such as self-mutilation.   This book is certainly not for the faint of heart.

 

Although many of the illustrations are violent and graphic, there are some which depict torture in a symbolic way, such as L’extase de Sainte Theres d’Avila by Bernini.

More works by Villeneuve such as Dictionnaire du diable which can be found at Widener Library and Histoire du cannibalisme at Tozzer Library.

 

 

 

Le Musée des supplices / Roland Villeneuve, Paris : Éditions Azur : C. Offenstadt, 1968.  HV8593 .V56 1968  can be found at Widener Library.

 

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

Fuzz against Junk

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Most likely we have all heard the slang of the word “fuzz” to describe a police officer.  There appears to be little reliable information to back up the supposition that people indeed used the word during the 60s or if it just crept into popular usage because people “thought” that is what people called the cops.  In any case this volume Fuzz against junk : the saga of the narcotics brigade was written by Akbar Del Piombo and is a satire about narcotics usage and the police.  Akbar is actually the nom de plume for Norman Rubington, who was more well-known as an artist.  Rubington’s collages and manuscripts can be found at the Beinecke Library at Yale under the Norman Rubington papers, 1951-1990.  After leaving Yale in 1943 for the Army Corps of Engineers, Rubington received training in map-making, mosaic overlay from aerial photos, and photo interpretation for military intelligence.  He also continued to sketch and paint and gained success as an artist after serving his time in the military in both Europe and America before he turned to book illustration.

Rubington started creating collages from 19th-century engravings and produced a set of satirical works including Fuzz against junk.  It is believed that this unique style of animation was the forerunner to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Look at more of these amazing collages in Fuzz against junk : the saga of the narcotics brigade /Akbar Del Piombo ; pictorials by Rubington. 2d American ed. New York : Beach Books, Texts & Documents, 1969. PS3507.E528F82 1969 located in the Hollis catalog.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

L’Incal

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Julio Santo Domingo collected books across many forms; among them is the graphic novel. Pictured here is one of the great collaborations in French comics: L’Incal, written by Alejandro Jodorowsky, the Chilean-born French filmmaker, actor, and author, and illustrated by artist Jean Giraud under his celebrated pseudonym Moebius. Jodorowsky will be familiar to film enthusiasts as the writer and director of the acid Western El Topo and the spiritual-psychedelic The Holy Mountain, among other features. Moebius, in addition to his seminal work in science-fiction and fantasy comics, contributed designs and storyboards to films including Alien and The Fifth Element. From 1981 to 1989, the two produced the six-volume Incal, a story which introduces Jodorowsky’s science-fiction “Jodoverse” and centers on the tribulations of John DiFool, a shabby private detective caught up in an interplanetary struggle for possession of the titular Incal, an alien artifact.

L’Incal incorporates the metaphysical, the psychedelic, the comic, and the absurd into a grand space opera. DiFool, a base and reluctant hero, represents the tarot Fool; other characters assume the roles of other cards. The story introduces factions such as the Technopriests and the Metabarons, each further detailed in its own later series; L’Incal itself received a prequel in another six volumes, Après l’Incal, published from 1988-1995. The volume featured here is a compendium of the six original Incal volumes, published in 1995 by Les Humanoïdes Associés.

L’Incal. Paris: Humanoïdes Asssociés, 1995. PN6747.J63 I5313 1995x

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

The heavily annotated books seen here belonged not to a famous mathematician or physicist but to the English literary critic and poet William Empson (1906-1984), best known for his first book, Seven Types of Ambiguity: A Study of its Effects on English Verse (1930), which established Empson, seemingly overnight, as one of the most important critics of his generation. As a poet Empson combined the staid vocabulary of modern science with classical forms of rhyme and meter, to startling effect. He taught literature in Japan and China in the 1930s, and worked for the BBC during the Second World War before accepting an appointment as professor of English at the University of Sheffield, England, where he taught for over twenty years.

William Empson’s papers and personal library, comprising over 60 boxes of manuscripts and more than 800 books, are now among the collections of Houghton Library. As might be expected, the books are mainly 20th-century literature and criticism, though popular mysteries are well represented too. What is striking about the collection is the profusion of mathematical equations on the flyleaves and endsheets of so many of the books, in particular the more recreational reading. Some further background on Empson gives some context to these markings. As a youth Empson excelled in mathematics, earning scholarships first to Winchester College and later Cambridge University. Clearly Empson viewed his books’ endsheets as a convenient notepad on which to exercise his mathematical mind.  He may have begun using his books in this way during the war, when rationing made paper scarce, though the habit evidently persisted for decades after.  Whether the equations are in some way intellectually related to the books’ texts is an intriguing possibility.

 

A frequent visitor to American universities, William Empson twice read at Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room, in 1960 and in 1973. The recordings, which include his best loved poems, can be heard here.

To browse William Empson’s library in HOLLIS, do a keyword search with the terms William Empson former owner.

Thanks to Bibliographic Assistant Noah Sheola for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

 

A surprising discovery when opening up the book Predicting the Future: An Illustrated History and Guide to the Techniques is who the author is.  Although not a particularly famous person, Albert, S. Lyons is a surgeon.  His extensive knowledge of the history of medicine, and how that intertwines with what is now thought of as occult practices inspired him to write this book.

 

 

 

This book includes sections on astrology, numerology, tarot, handreading, I ching, tea-leaf reading and dreams.  In fact, with the help of another surgeon, Han-yu Shen, he has contributed a new translation of the I ching. 

 

Each section not only includes a history, but also a guide to some of the practices such as tarot card readings and how to do numerology.

 

 

 

Lyons chose to focus on predicting the future because of the importance of the prognosis to a medical patient.  Even in modern medicine, although doctors no longer focus as much on prediction as they do on diagnosis, knowing what is going to happen is always on the front of a patient’s mind.  If you are interested in Lyons’ other works, you can find Medicine: an illustrated history at Widener Library.

 

Predicting the future : an illustrated history and guide to the techniques / Albert S. Lyons ; with a literal translation of the I ching by Han-yu Shen and Albert S. Lyons. ;  New York : H.N. Abrams, 1990. BF1751 .L96 1990 F can be found received at Widener Library.

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

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