Something of an experiment this bit, but anyone who has read any of my stuff will see that I like a bit of historical context around my books. However given the nature of clandestine publishing, sometimes this is difficult, I don’t have access to all the reference material and rely heavily on my pal Pat Kearney to fill the gaps, but below is one that we are both stumped on. Any one who can enlighten me as to the origin please message me.
Recently purchased on eBay on a whim, The Autobiography of a Flea: Paris. The Erotica Biblion Association 167 pages
When it arrived I mailed Pat K:-
Well it has arrived and don’t know what to say really, it is as appears below, with the wrapper over plain paper covers, it does have a sticker inside the fly leaf that looks suspiciously Japanese, so I expect you are correct about its origins. The title page is identical to the cover and there are 167 pages. The print job looks good and it is on quite heavy paper. No other clues that I can identify.Let me know if you want any more information
Pat’s response, after confirming he can find no bibliographical reference:-
Odd edition you got of the “Flea” book. It looks like nothing I’ve
ever seen before.
ever seen before.
I’m really not expecting it to be anything other than a late piracy, but intrigued by the mystery, anyone got any ideas?
4 thoughts on “Your Assistance Required: A bibliographical mystery”
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I just received the above book (Autobiography of a Flea) through the post, as I bought it in the Catawiki sale a few days ago. Searching for information about the book on the net I ended up on your site. Clearly, the book pictured here is the one I now own. In reaction to your frequent comments on the site about the silence of your readers and buyers, I decided to leave this reply.
This is to thank you for the book, and to let you know that I too am a collector of Olympia Press books and other erotica. My collection, however, is much smaller than yours, so I will not be able to supply you with any of the books in your “wants” list. I had seen your site before, and was always impressed by the many beautiful books here, and by the fact that you obviously know a lot about them.
I collect Obelisk and Olympia books, clandestine erotica, and also later works, such as American sleaze from the sixties and seventies (Brandon House etc.). My budget is extremely limited, but even so, I manage to find a nice book from time to time, such as the one I just bought from you. My collection contains books in English, Dutch, German, and French. Currently, the only books I have for trade are some New York Ophelia Press books, some other Olympia titles, and one Essex House book (“Coupled” by Porter). I would be surprised if any of these would interest you, but if you like you can look them up in my “little bookshop” called “kaff” on the Dutch “boekwinkeltjes” site:
I will visit your site from time to time, as I have done before, but I’m afraid I have little to add to your knowledge or to your collection. However, I wanted to let you know that there is at least one Dutch collector of Olympia press out there.
with kind regards,
Michel Limpens, Malden (The Netherlands)
Thank you for your message and your kind comments, its great to get a response and I am delighted you like the book. The auction was fun and although the prices were not all great, overall it was a success and will assist in purchasing other titles. I will check out your titles on the boekwinkeltjes site, i often buy from there, many of the books by the subject of my current fixation “Montorgrueil” were purchased via this site. You are not alone in your Olympia interest in the Netherlands, one of the best collections in the world , not just of Olympia’s, but all types of erotica and sleaze as well, are in a private collection in Leiden, or at least they were, unfortunately I lost contact with the owner some years ago, and am not sure if he is still alive. I have some friends in the book-trade in Amsterdam, and I used to visit several times a year, but that was long ago, although I was there for a few days last September. You may be aware of my link to the eBay site where I have traded under the name “carmencitadellaslunas” for many years. Thanks again for your message, your communication has restored my faith in my website and the rapid delivery of your book has restored my faith in Royal Mail.