Here we are again, back to the strange and complex world of the books published by Charles Carrington, (not his real name), under, in this case his most common imprint, being his company name. Nothing is quite as it seems with these books and if you attempt to follow future listings you will gradually become just as confused about it all as I am. For the moment lets just focus on this one title, except, it isn’t just one title. Confused? Brilliant, let us proceed.
Originally published in German, Written by W. Reinhard. Lenchen im Zuchthause in c. 1848. Though claiming to be a direct translation of the German Edition, it appears that this the first, French language edition, was actually translated from the First English language edition, published clandestinely by Charles Carrington entitled Nell in Bridewell, in 1900 under his Society of British Bibliophiles imprint.
It is worthy of note that there is often significant variation in content, between French and English translations of Carrington books (in all imprints), A clandestine imprint usually indicating greater sexual (pornographic) content, although at times the same device was used to hide the publisher from, outraged authors and fellow clandestine publishers when he had nicked their books without consent or in breach of copyright.
Nobody gave a toss about the flagellation stuff, and it was generally, neither censored, nor proscribed. Although this rule, like all good rules, does have exceptions
As with other listings in this collection, I will distinguish between the actual book (This Book), and the bibliographical description, which describes how the book should have looked when it was made, Even this is subjective as very few bibliographical descriptions are completed “Book in Hand”. Mine are!
Jean du Villiot (trans): La Flagellation Des Femmes en Allemagne. illustrations par Martin van Maele, Paris Charles Carrington, 1901. Rebound in red patterned cloth, over brown leather boards, spine in brown leather with title embossed, in red and black text and Publisher and date in black. Original (remains of) paper cover (front and back) pasted in. (original paper spine not retained), Number 309/500, on papier de Hollande. 236 rough cut pages. No printer referenced in this copy. Dimensions including binding (24 x 15.5 x 4.5 cm, weight 1 kg) Frontispiece and 19, duotone full page illustrations, signed (motif),by Martin Van Maele, each with its own tissue guard, (with textual description, and the number of the facing page printed in red). With 8 additional illustrations in text, by G.Dola and J. Wely.
Complete and in Very Good condition. From the Michael Neal Collection his note. Villiot – La Flagellation des femmes en allemagne 1901from the Leonardt collection lux binding slipcase.
NOTE: The following bibliographical description is in error, the 20 illustrations by Van Maele, includes the frontispiece.
LA FLAGELLATION | DES FEMMES [red] | EN ALLEMAGNE | Récit authentique d’une Prisonnière [red] | TRADUIT DE L’ALLEMAND DE | W. REINHARD | PAR | JEAN DU VILLIOT [red] | Vingt illustrations par MARTIN VAN MAELE | [vignette] | PARIS | CHARLES CARRINGTON [red] | 13, FAUBOURG MONTMARTRE, 13 | [short rule] | 1901 (13.97 x 22.86 cm). xi + 356 pp. Frontispiece + 20 engravings in red and black (with tissue guards), signed with Van Maele’s monogram. The in-text illustrations are by J.W. [J. Wely?] and G.D. [G. Dola?]. Printed by A.– G. Lemale [from a note in the copy at Kinsey] in a limited edition of 500 copies on Holland. First published as Lenchen im Zuchthause in c. 1848. This present edition is a French translation of Nell in Bridewell, published by Carrington in 1900 under his Society of British Bibliophiles imprint. (Kinsey: 833.7 R369 l5F 190. Leonhardt: lot 419. Private
Perry, S. A.. Martin Van Maele: An Illustrated Bibliographical Checklist (Kindle Locations 290-297). . Kindle Edition.
This is the first, in what promises to be a very large collection of titles published by Charles Carrington, either openly or under one of his clandestine imprints, many of the titles originate from the Michael Neal collection, which provides some very interesting, rare and obscure titles, others have come from various sources and have been in my possession for varying amounts of time, some I have listed previously on this site and are no longer in my possession, but as the nature of the site is to catalogue and preserve images of actual books, I am able to link them retrospectively and avoid the expense of having to purchase them again. More of this another time.
I have chosen, for no other reason, than a Van Maele connection, to list “Pan Michael”, as the first title in this new collection, and in doing so I have stumbled upon a bibliographical mystery, as I cannot locate another 1904 edition, and as I cannot find a listed copy of the 1902 Carrington edition that has the Van Maele illustrations. I can only assume the the illustrations were designed specifically for the 1904 edition and there were never any in the 1902 edition.
There are various earlier editions of this title in English, French and Polish. I am not clear why Carrington chose to publish this title, as despite his forays into, pseudo-scientific and medical publications, as well as folk lore, the underlying theme to both openly published and clandestine imprints is sex, including a large selection of books on the flagellation theme, even with the books by Anatole France there is a gothic/demonic content with a very erotic and sensual imagery, both textual and especially in the Van Maele illustrations, I just cannot make this title fit into any of Carringtons traditional genres. Unsure if anyone can answer this question, but a always any suggestions or contributions to enhance the listing are always welcome
The description provided by S.A. Perry, in her Martin Van Maele bibliography. references in detail the 1904 edition. My copy does not have the original covers which explains why I have 10 illustrations, the “onze” (eleven), referenced on the title page, included the illustrated, cover. Still 10 is better than none, and this leaves the door open for some generous donor to provide an image of the cover, to complete the listing.
As will be the norm, my description is titled “This Book” and describes the copy I have in hand “warts and all”, this will be followed by a full bibliographical description (where there is one), which describes the book as it was (allegedly) when it was produced. A note of caution is, that many bibliographers have never seen the actual book, and their descriptions, are often the result of using earlier bibliographers descriptions, or from research on-line or in National, or University collections. In the worst case scenario descriptions are from publishers catalogues, which in the case of Carrington, and similar publishers, are largely fabricated, and with false information as to the limitation numbers, the various luxury editions and the cost of such items. This goes with the territory of publishing erotica in whatever form, and such activity in this area is still happening today, with false provenance of newly discovered works and mysterious unknown artists, suddenly appearing on the market.
It must be said of Carrington, that whatever false claims he made, he did produce an astonishing number of incredibly beautiful books, sadly the only way you can experience the reality of such an object is to hold it in your hands, to take in the exotic scent of an old book, to feel the quality of the paper and weight and physical presence of the object, which is in itself a work of art, that cannot be reproduced today. And that is without even thinking about the illustrations, which lose their essence when paint shopped to make clean electronic copies.
Rebound in blue marbled boards, with green cloth spine, title, author, motif in gilt, with 3 sets of gilt parallel lines. ( see image at head of this listing). Lacking original paper covers, endpapers and any reference as to limitation. Commences with title page. 638 pages, dimensions (with binding 18 x 13 x 4 cm), weight 700 gr. Contents complete with 10 full page plates from engravings, single sided on slightly heavier paper than the text, presumably tipped in, but attached in sequence to the page of relevant text. Each image indexed and with textual description, and signed with Van Maele’s motif signature. Overall condition good, with general marking and wear appropriate to a book of this age which has been in circulation. as mentioned above the title page indicates “Onze” (eleven) illustrations, this includes the illustrated cover which is absent from this book. Rare Title. Not for sale.
Full Bibliographical Description.
Pan Michaël HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ | [short rule] | Pan Michaël | (MESSIRE VOLODVOVSKI) | TRADUIT PAR CHARLES GROLLEAU | [short rule] | Puisque saint Michael conduit toute | l’armée des Cieux et a gagné tant de | victoires sur les légions infernales, | je le choisis pour patron. | (Le Déluge.) | NOUVELLE ÉDITION | Onze dessins de Martin VAN MAELE | [short rule] | PARIS | CHARLES CARRINGTON, LIBRAIRE-EDITEUR | 13, FAUBOURG MONTMARTRE, 13 | [short rule] | 1904
In-12. (13 x 19 cm). 638 pp. 10 captioned hors-texte drawings in black signed with Van Maele’s monogram. Illustrated front cover (title in red) signed Martin + his monogram. Printed by E. Arrault et Cie. Hors-texte: 37, 65, 95, 223, 271, 349, 391, 445, 481, 536 From a 1904 Carrington catalogue published in the back of Le Pantalon Féminin, 1906: « Nouvelle édition de dix dessins hors texte, par Martin van Maele, et d’une couverture illustrée par le même. Un fort volume in-18 jésus de 600 pages. 50 exemplaires sur Hollande, 15 sur Chine. » (Bibliothèque Nationale: 8-Y2-53302. Private collection)
Perry, S. A.. Martin Van Maele: An Illustrated Bibliographical Checklist (Kindle Locations 538-543). . Kindle Edition.
After another long absence, I return with some very rare ephemera from the Paris Olympia Press. Listed here only briefly, I will post more detailed descriptions if there is any interest.
I shall in the coming days post some more illustrated erotica, in particular some material from the now defunct Erotic Print Society.
I am still considering letting my Olympia Press collection go to a new home, but in the mean time I continue to seek the few missing items.
The New Paris Teaser
The New Stripteaser
Olympia Press Catalogue 1960
The above items are all rare, but none so rare as the New Stripteaser, no copy has ever been in any of the major collections, and at the time the last bibliography as released, it was only identified as having been mentioned in a catalogue.
The Burroughs 1960 catalogue, is now a rarity because of the Burroughs connection.
I am still seeking 2 Teasers, “The Paris Teaser” and “Paris Exotique”, the English and French versions of the same publication.
As I have often mentioned before, the ephemera is the biggest challenge in trying to complete a collection. I am always delighted to find a catalogue. This one used to be quite common. I am always happy to be offered any similar items.
Below is a variant of the 1956 catalogue, with a link to my original listing. Same item but a different colour banner, orange instead of purple.
Having suffered a stroke last year, I was forced to consider what would happen to my collection should I die. A serious enough issue, given tales of shark like dealers descending on the recently bereaved and picking off the prized items from remaining partners who have no idea of what to do with the books, and even less idea of the potential value.
This is especially true of erotica as there is an understandable embarrassment, attached to such material, especially illustrated books, and I have heard of some such material being destroyed to avoid having to deal with it, and though this is perhaps the best disposal for modern pornography, this is less of a problem with my Paris Olympia Press collection as they are 99% without illustrations.
Having explored possible methods of disposal, I had been in negotiation with Bonhams of London with a view to the collection going to auction this June, when a combination of my own health issues and an extended family crisis prevented me from cataloguing the books, a task that Bonhams offered to cover, but I really wanted to complete myself.
So i find myself delaying the selling of the collection, and almost immediately other items turn up, within the past month or so, I have obtained a catalogue that I do not have a copy of, one of the missing Teaser magazines and a much improved copy of “The Castle of the end of Love”, a very hard to find Ophelia Press title.
I must admit to a sense of relief at still having the collection, as after so many decades of collecting the loss would be hard to take. It my be that I will reconsider next year, which gives me more time to locate the few missing items that would allow me to complete. Which also means that I will continue with this site, given that its sworn purpose is to assist with completing my Paris Olympia collection, something that is easy to forget, given that the vast majority of the books that I list are nothing to do with the Olympia Press at all.
So to give me a reason to carry on, please remember to look out for Paris Olympia material for me. And if you have any erotica (not photographic pornography please) that you want rid of then complete a contact form and I may be able to assist.
Below is an image of my Paris Olympia Press collection as of today. Coming soon recent finds and some very rare illustrated erotica.
A truly pristine item of ephemera, and a most welcome addition to my collection. This is a perfect example of the material that I am seeking, this one is courtesy of Arcana Cabana in the Netherlands, who kindly agreed to seperate the price list from an edition of Justine, where it had sat between the leaves, untouched for over 50 years. You can view the Arcana Cabana site below.
Paris Olympia Press, Price list and Order form, Spring 1962.
Printed both sides in black and red on a single sheet of pale yellow card, measuring 27×9 cm. Paris bookshop sticker affixed to base of the form on the verso.
The titles in red are highlighted as new editions due to be published, interestingly, the low number Traveller’s Companion Series titles had been in print since 1955/56, therefore at TC 13 ” The Secret Life of Robinson Crusoe” was formerly entitled “The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe”, at TC 29, “Helen and Desire” was actually reissued as “Desire and Helen”, and at TC 40 ” The Organisation” was reissued as “The New Organisation”. Legend has it that the changes in title of these reprints was a ploy to confuse the Brigade Mondaine, who worked to lists of Olympia titles that had been banned in France, but as few, if any of the officials could read English a simple ploy such as above was enough to throw them off the scent.
You can also see that at TC 57, the sixth volume of Juliette was about to be issued, the slot for TC 58 was held vacant,eventually (in 1965) was occupied by “Juliette” volume seven, but at one stage in (catalogue 1958) it had been scheduled fo a TC edition of Becketts” Watt”. The title at TC 90 planned as ” The Sex Life of Ulysses” eventually came out as “A Bedside Odyssey”.
Another anomaly, under the Othello Books series (numbered 111-116), which were all to be published in 1962, at 116, sits “Sextet” by Hume Parkinson, which was not issued in this series, and appears to been passed over in the Danish imprint “Odyssey Library”, where it was supposed to be published in 1963, eventually turning up as TC 94 the last title to be published in the Travellers Companion Series in 1965.
No mention on this list of any of the Ophelia Press titles, which generally appear to have been run as a seperate enterprise the Ophelia titles are generally themed around flagellation and sado masochism which traditionally sat outside of mainstream erotica.
Such a significant amount of information from such a small piece of paper, and perhaps something of an explanation for my fascination, with the Olympia Press ephemera material.
Paris Olympia Press, Price list and Order form, Spring 1962.
Another great rarity and a very welcome addition to my collection, this was very kindly gifted to me earlier this year and arrived unexpectedly on my Birthday, the donor was John Mc Leish of Glasgow, who informed me that this item was formerly in the collection of Gershon Legman. I have had copy of this title before and the one referenced in the Bibliography as in the collection of Angus Carrol actually originated with me. Pat Kearneys speculation that the two items were stapled together at a later date is an error , as evidenced by this copy which has the same side stapled condition. I am tempted to separate the two pamphlets as the catalogue is of significant interest as it lists Beckett’s “Watt” at number 58 in the Traveller’s Companion Series, which never happened, I attempted to communicate this to a fellow collector who is convinced he has seen a copy of this TC Watt.but i have as yet had no response.
For now you will just have to settle for the limited images posted here as I do not want yet to seperate the two, and risk damaging either. Although it would be interesting to copy the catalogue in full, this will have to wait until I pluck up courage to carry out the operation, currently with only one reliable hand such a delicate task is at the moment beyond me.
On the Old Theme of Literature & Censorship with A List of Olympia Press Titles and Others. Paris Olympia Press 1958
The bibliographical information below is provided courtesy of Patrick Kearney, The Paris Olympia Press, Liverpool University Press 2007.
MY NOTE: The catalogue is dated MXMLV11 (1957) on the cover, it references Imp Mazarine as the printer but has no print details.
14.7.1 1958. On the Old Theme of Literature & Censorship. – 17.4 x 8.8 cm. Printed on white wove paper. A dated pamphlet of 32 pages, incl. plain typographical wrappers. A curious publication comprising for the most part extracts from the minutes of the Select Committee on the Obscene Publications Bill, which had been published by the British Government in1957. Printed by Impr. Mazarine, Paris.
Notes: It is doubtful that Girodias would issue a pamphlet of this sort unaccompanied by a sale catalogue or price list for his publications. A copy in Angus Carrollřs collection is stapled together with the item following (14.8.1). Whether the two were issued together as a single unit is uncertain. Despite being the same size and having the same date and printer, each is printed on a different coloured paper and they are connected awkwardly with two staples driven through the side. The possibility exists, however, that they were issued together but became separated, and were badly reunited by a later collector.
14.8.1 1958. A List of Olympia Press Titles and Others. 17.4 x 8.8 cm. Printed on pale blue wove paper. 24 pp. including plain typographical wrappers. Extracts from, or write-ups of, a number of Travellerřs Companion and Ophelia Press titles. There is a 2-page price list and order form, advertisements for German editions of Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Querelle de Brest. There are also advertisements for L‘Erotisme au cinema and Technique de l‘erotisme by the prolific Giuseppe Maria Lo Duca. These illustrated works were actually published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, but apparently distributed in some way by the Olympia Press. Printed by Impr. Mazarine, Paris.
Notes: Possibly issued to accompany a 32-page pamphlet called On the Old Theme of Literature & Censorship, reprinting extracts from the minutes of the Select Committee on the Obscene Publications Bill, which had been published by the British Government in 1957. See item 14.7.1, above.
This small volume has been listed on book sites for some considerable time, and was of no particular interest to me until I relised that from the description and photograph of the cover that this was likely to be the edition with colour illustrations, this from the knowledge that, the numbered edition has blue wraps and the unnumbered edition has pink wraps, this copy has a cream wrapper and was therefore likely to be the Alphabetical limitation, and so it turned out to be, but with a very sweet reward attached. Iinclude the booksellers listing, to assist with the story, and offer my profound thanks to Keogh Books, for this unique addition to my collection.
An Almanac for Amorists
by Broughton, James
Condition: , covers slightly sunned and with some loss at lower fore-edge of front cover, internally clean, book in good condition
, 38 pages, SIGNED and dedicated to Daphne Hunter from the author, and with photo of author at the front, Daphne Hunter starred in the 1953 film ‘The Pleasure Garden (directed by James Broughton) alongside the actor and illustrator Kermit Sheets, who illustrated this book.
Rare opportunity to se the delicately coloured illustrations , and so please see below. Apart from the additional material hand written by the author, for the collector, the format is slightly larger than the other editions and the illustrations are hand coloured, This copy is a unique alphabetical limitation 26 on Vélin d’Arches, | numbered A to Z; = 26¾ – Z³ ,see image for detail. The bibliographical information displayed below the images is courtesy of Patrick Kearney The Paris Olympia Press, Liverpool University Press 2007.
AN ALMANAC FOR AMORISTS James Broughton, 1955
2.6.1 AN ALMANAC FOR AMORISTS James Broughton, 1955
[Within a drawing of a pedestal, with three steps leading to summit, and surmounted by two pillars supporting a narrow, flat roof. In front of left pillar, the figure of a naked man, with a naked woman in front of right pillar. In one hand the woman carries a sign bearing the author‘s name; both figures support a banner with the title on it. The name of the Paris publisher, and place and date of publication are printed on the steps.] [In fancy lettering: ] JAMES BROUGHTON
| AN | ALMANAC | FOR | AMORISTS | [design of bird in flight ] | COLLECTION | MERLIN | PARIS 1955 |
Collation: 42 pp. 18.2 x 13.8 cm. Perfect bound, without signatures, edges untrimmed.
Contents: p. [i-iv] blank. p. [v] AN ALMANAC FOR AMORISTS, reverse blank. p.  title, as above. p.  Copyright 1955 | by James Broughton. | All rights reserved |in all countries. | Published by | Collection Merlin | 42, rue de Seine | Paris (6e) | in collaboration with | The Olympia Press. | Designed and decorated | by Kermit Sheets. p. , poetic dedications to Esto Broughton, Madeline Gleason and Robert Duncan. p.  A grateful acknowledgment | is made to Marguerite Caertani | in whose review, Botteghe Oscure, | many of these poems first | appeared under this same title. | Some of the other poems | were originally published | in Furioso, Folder, and Wake.. p.  contents, reverse blank. p.  full-page drawing illustrating Spring, reverse blank. pp. 9-37, text with full-page drawings illustrating the remaining seasons on pp. [15, 23, 31]. p.  list of Broughton’s other volumes of verse, and his films. p.  This edition of | An Almanac for Amorists | consists of 676 copies : | 26 on Vélin d’Arches, | numbered A to Z; | 150 on Pur chiffon, | numbered 1 to 150;| 500 on Offset supérieur, | unnumbered. |[all in bold:] IMPRIMERIE DES POÈTES | 20, Rue de la Harpe, Paris-5e | 1955. pp. [40-42] blank.
Binding: White wrappers, printed in black, overlapping on fore-edge and trimmed flush top and bottom. On front cover, a drawing of a naked man and woman, viewed from behind, holding a banner on which is written in fancy lettering AN | ALMANAC | FOR | AMORISTS. At foot of drawing is a narrow banderole bearing the author’s name. Printed down spine: James Broughton [-] AN ALMANAC FOR AMORISTS [-] Merlin. The back cover is blank.
Notes: (1) There are three Olympia Press issues of this printing: (a) The first issue, 26 copies on Velin d‟Arches lettered A to Z; (b) the second issue, 150 copies on Pur chiffon numbered 1 to 150; and (c) the third issue, 500 trade copies, unnumbered, as indicated at the end of the book. (2) There are known copies of the third issue (on Offset supérieur) which have added on the title page at the bottom either HALCYON PRESS LONDON or GROVE PRESS NEW YORK. It is unknown if these copies are part of the original 500 printed by the Olympia Press or if more were printed to accommodate these additional sub-issues. Both the Halcyon Press andeditions have a pink dustjacket,identical in design to the wrappers except that the name „Merlin‟ on the spine is replaced with the name „Halcyon‟ or „Grove‟ The inside flap of the front wrapper gives some critical comment on Broughton‟s work, the address of the English publisher or distributor (Halcyon Press, 15 New Row, London, W.C.2) or the American publisher or distributor (Grove Press, 795 Broadway, New York City 3), and the price of the volume, 4s 6d or $1, repsectively. The inside flap of the back wrapper, and the back wrapper itself, are both blank. (3) The printing of this work would seem to have been done by Bronislaw Kaminski, aka Bruno Durocher, who was also responsible for some reprints for the Olympia Press, and for The Castle of the End of Love, the unofficial first Ophelia Press title.His Éditions Caractères had a number of subsidiary imprints, including L‟Imprimerie des Poètes.
For me this is exactly what I have been looking for, in a very good year for extremely rare items to complete my collection, here is one item that is amazing to find, and is the real justification for this Blog.
Prospectus for ‘Watt’ a novel in English by Samuel Beckett. Collection Merlin 1953. 12mo. Single sheet prospectus. Fine condition.
A major find for my collection, a very nice copy of the 58 Ginger Man with the original dust jacket flaps. As always the bibliographical description is courtesy of Patrick Kearney, The Paris Olympia Press, The Liverpool University Press 2007. The index number corresponds to the actual location of the description in the bibliography.
5.7.2 THE GINGER MAN J. P. Donleavy, 1958
[Within a green border of type ornament: ] J. P. DONLEAVY | THE | GINGER | MAN | (Paris edition) | THE TRAVELLERřS COMPANION | SERIES | published by | THE OLYMPIA PRESS | [breaking the border: ] 7, rue Saint-Séverin, Paris 5
Collation: 384 pp. No signatures. 17.0 x 10.5 cm., all edges trimmed. Printed on white wove paper.
Contents: pp. [i,ii] blank. p.  THE | GINGER | MAN. p.  blank p.  title, as above. p.  PRINTED IN FRANCE | [rule] | All rights reserved by The Olympia Press, Paris | COPYRIGHT 1958. pp. 5-, text with, at the foot of p.  [rule] | Printed January 1958 by S.I.P., Montreuil, France| Dépôt légal : 1er trimestre 1958.
Binding: Bound in green cloth boards, with red endpapers and with black paper labels on spine and front cover, printed in gold and white. Label on front cover measures 5.2 x 8.2 cm. and has a gold border decorated in black with the same type ornament used on the titlepage: [in gold: ] J. P. DONLEAVY | [in white: ] THE | GINGER MAN | [in gold: ] THE OLYMPIA PRESS, PARIS.
Label on spine measures 5.0 x 2.4 cm. and is similarly decorated, but at top and bottom only: [in gold: ] DONLEAVY | [in white: ] THE | GINGER | MAN | [in gold: ] OLYMPIA. Upside-down on the front paste-down is an oblong paper label measuring 6 x 1.5 centimetres on which is printed, within a single-line frame, NOT TO BE SOLD IN | THE U.K. OR U.S.A.. Centred to the right beside this, in larger type and still within the frame, is: FRS. 1.200. Two copies of this first issue have been noted, both having this label upside-down.
Issued in glossy white dustwrappers streaked in yellow and with coloured blot designs in dark blue, red and gray running into each other. Front of dustwrapper: [in white, each letter contained within an individual dark blue blot: ] THE | [in black upper-case script, each letter contained within an individual red blot: ] GINGER | [in black lower-case script, each letter contained within an individual gray blot: ] man [in black lettering: ] BY J . P. DONLEAVY – THE OLYMPIA PRESS, PARIS. Spine of dustwrapper has a similar coloured blot design, but with one blot per colour: [In white, within a dark blue blot: ] THE | [in black upper-case script, contained within an indidividual red blot: ] GINGER | [in black lower-case script, contained within an individual gray blot:] man [in black lettering: ] BY J. P. DONLEAVY.
On the front inside flap of the dustwrapper, and within a red border of type ornament, begins THE STORY OF THE GINGER MAN, an extended account of the how the novel came to be published in the first place and the litigation that was then in progress. This account is carried over to and concluded on the back inside flap. At the conclusion of the text is a red rule, followed by: [left justified:] NOW AVAILABLE IN ENGLAND: | [centered:] Samuel Beckett | [in red:] Molloy | [in black on the next line and to the right:] 13/6 | [in red and centred:] WATT | [in black on the next line and to the right:] 15/- | [in black and centered:] Paul Ableman | [in red and centred:] I HEAR VOICES | [in black on the next line and to the right:] 15/-.
Notes: Maurice Girodias believed that he owned the English language rights to The Ginger Man, including those governing contracts for English editions outside France. Donleavyřs view of the situation was quite different, and thus was born one of the longest and most bitterly fought feuds in the history of publishing. This present edition of The Ginger Man was printed specifically by the Olympia Press to be imported into England to undermine the edition published there by Neville Spearman who had entered into a separate contract with Donleavy. Fearing possible legal action in England, Spearman, presumably with Donleavy’s agreement and co-operation, expurgated their edition of the book. For similar reasons, Girodias pruned his edition as well, but to a lesser degree. Unfortunately, he neglected to take into consideration the reputation his imprint had with the British Customs and Excise authorities.
Referring to an omission in the 1975 edition of this bibliography of the Olympia Press, a letter from Donleavyřs then secretary, Mrs. P. V. Epps, to the present author dated January 3rd 1977 stated: There is one edition of Mr. Donleavy’s book The Ginger Man which is absent from your handlist. However, this is understandable due to the fact that it was published in a limited hard cover 500 copy edition in 1956 [sic], and Mr. Girodias claimed that much of this edition was destroyed by the English Customs. It happens, however, to be a volume which Mr. Donleavy does not presently have, and he is attempting to obtain a copy.
By 1982, Donleavy had evidently located a copy, for on the 7th of May in that year his new secretary, Teresa Miln, wrote to Bernard Stone, a London bookseller: Mr. Donleavy did in the same post as your letter get such a copy, however he is still looking for the same cloth edition 1958 but with the dust jacket containing reference to litigation then being carried on. You will note the dust jacket you presently have has been cut on the fold over containing the legend on the inside cover, and the legend concerning The Ginger Man pasted onto the cover. This [is] because the previous legend might have been in contempt of court concerning the matter sub judice. There may only be a handful of such copies containing this wrapper, but Mr. Donleavy would much appreciate your keeping an eye out for it, and of course any other editions coming into your hands.
It is clear from these letters that when the Olympia Press first published this edition of The Ginger Man, the inner flaps of the dustwrapper contained some account of the ongoing court case between Girodias and Donleavy. Fearing, perhaps on legal advice, that publication of this information might be construed as contempt of court and/or hamper his case, Girodias had the flaps removed and substituted with others carrying less sensitive letterpress. These new flaps are on different paper to the dustwrapper, having a sort of rough, matt finish. Why a whole new batch of wrappers weren’t printed instead it is hard to say, but it may have been because of the expense of additional colour printing.
In December 1997, a copy of the first issue of this edition, with the original flaps, was offered for sale by Quill & Brush Books (P.O. Box 5365, Rockville, MD 20848). A copy of the litigious text was, with great generosity, supplied to the compiler by Quill & Brush Books, and is here reproduced:
THE STORY OF THE GINGER MAN
The story of this remarkable and now famous book is an unusually complicated one. J. P. Donleavy submitted his manuscript to us four years ago, after it had been rejected by several British and American publishers because of its rather raw unconventionality, and because Donleavy definitely refused to leave out any of the rawness and unconventionality. We agreed to publish it provided that some amendments should be brought to the form and style of this novel ,an exuberant first book. This was done, and The Ginger Man appeared in Paris in 1955.
In December 1956, another edition of the book was published in London, unauthorized by us, and rather badly expurgated by the second publisher, as a protection against the implacable vigilance of British censorship. However, the job was so barbarously done that it resulted in the destruction of many of the genuine qualities of the book.
Litigation was initiated by us, and the London publisher adopted the following line of defence: a British Court could not admit the validity of the Donleavy- Olympia Press contract because its object was of an illegal nature, i.e. an obscene book; therefore, their own contract with the author, the second contract, was to be considered the only valid one, its object being a book (the same) dutifully maimed, shorn, and disencumbered from all Rabelaisian appendages.
The laws of Great Britain being what they are, our solicitors warned us in alarm that the line of defence adopted by our adversaries was far from futile; the grave accusation of obscenity, even unsupported, was to raise such echoes in a British Court that we were in danger of losing our case, however unjust such an outcome, however devious the methods of the Defendants.
Our first reaction was unmitigated fury; then we remembered that we had acquired a rather dark fame in England in the past few years as Continental publishers of the outlaw works of Jean Genet, of Henry Miller, of Samuel Beckett, of de Sade, and that we were known as the discoverers and champions of this magnificent masterpiece, Vladimir Nabokovřs Lolita. We reluctantly understood that our solicitors were right.
We were then struck by this major, illuminating discovery: why shouldn’t we withdraw the ladder from under the agile feet of our adversaries? The means were simple, and the prospect healthy: we would ourselves publish an edition of The Ginger Man for sale in England, under our contract also expurgated, but within the limits of reason, and with all due concern for the literary merit of the book.
And this volume is the result. If the London edition is free from the accusation of obscenity, then this edition also is; only we have kept in many sections and passages necessary for the balance, meaning and colour of the book, which the London publisher had suppressed for no discernible reason. And whatever expurgations we have been compelled to perform, we have tried to perform intelligently; we therefore presume that this edition of The Ginger Man deserves even more fully than the London one these comments of the British Press:
A triumph. Manchester Guardian. Sheer excess of horseplay, violence and vitamins. Observer. Has fire enough for a dozen books. Sunday Times. Remarkably authentic and Joycean. New Statesman. Comic dirty and delightful. The Listener, etc., etc.
Whether the British Customs did seize the shipment, as Donleavy states that Girodias claims, is problematical. Certainly, before about 1980 this edition of the novel was all but unknown, but about that year a considerable number of copies emerged almost simultaneously at London book fairs and similar functions. It is possible that the Customs sat on them until the dust settled, and then sold them secretly to a wholesaler who in turn filtered them out into the London book trade, but this seems unlikely. Nevertheless, somebody kept them under wraps for more than twenty years.
The second state dustjacket is identical to the first except the inside flaps are cancels. The front inside flap carries, within a double-line frame, the outer line being heavier than the inner, a short unsigned note concerning The Ginger Man, and refers to the many cuts made in the Neville Spearman edition of the novel published in London. The present edition is admitted to having been cut as well, but much less so, and has therefore gained considerably in vigour and quality, and fully deserves the universal acclaim of the British Press. Brief plaudits are then quoted from reviews in The Manchester Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, &c. The back inside flap carries, within an identical border, advertisements for three other Olympia Press novels, Samuel Beckett’s Molloy and Watt, and Paul Ableman’s I Hear Voices, the first of which is priced at 13/6 and the other two at 15/- respectively, which are said to be DISTRBUTED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM BY A. ZWEMMER LTD., |72 Charing Cross Road, | London WC2.
With the exception of the cancel flaps and the NOT TO BE SOLD… sticker, copies with the second state dustjacket are identical to copies with the first state dustjacket.