The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Author: DC (Page 2 of 873)

Two booklets of Austin Osman Spare: Earth: Inferno (1905), The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love) (1913) *

* (restored)

‘Austin Osman Spare (December 30, 1886 – May 15, 1956) was an English artist and magician. He was the son of a London policeman. As a child, he showed an affinity for art, and he briefly attended an art school. At the age of 13, he left school to become an apprentice to a stained glass maker. During his teen years, his fascination for the occult grew apace, heavily influencing the work he produced. In May 1904 one of his drawings was exhibited at the annual Royal Academy exhibition in London, generating a storm of publicity for the young artist.

‘In October 1907 Spare exhibited his drawings at the Bruton gallery in London. His work resembled that of Aubrey Beardsley, but was full of grotesque, sexualized human figures and magical symbols. These elements appealed to avant-garde London intellectuals, and brought him to the attention of Aleister Crowley. Spare became a Probationer of Crowley’s order Argenteum Astrum (“Of the Silver Star”) in July 1909, but was not initaiated as a member, although he contributed four small drawings to Crowley’s publication The Equinox. Crowley later characterized Spare as a “Black Brother”, meaning that he did not approve of the goals of Spare’s magical philosophy.

‘In 1905, Spare published his first book, Earth: Inferno. It remains a powerful work and made clear Spare’s agenda: mystical, grotesque, often dark and polemic, Earth: Inferno seeks to challenge the reader to see the world askance, through the eyes of the artist. The book was privately published in 1905 – prior to his first notorious West End exhibition at The Bruton Gallery. If there had been any doubt as to Spare’s intent, this show dispelled any lingering uncertainty. One critic wrote: “His inventive faculty is stupendous and terrifying in its creative flow of impossible horrors …” Spare’s iconoclasm and aversion to moralism as well as his sigilization was influential on the Western esoteric tradition that later came to be known as chaos magic.’ — & Fulgur Limited


Earth: Inferno

‘Earth: Inferno’ @ Wikipedia
‘Earth: Inferno’ @ goodreads
‘EARTH: Inferno’. A Short Film based on the Work of Austin Osman Spare
UNUNE AS KAOS IZ DERGRUND ‘Earth Inferno (Austin Osman Spare)’
Fields of the Nephilim ‘Earth Inferno’
“Earth Inferno” de Austin Osman Spare por Mor Navón & Julián Moguillansky
Buy ‘Earth Inferno’ (facsimile)


‘Spare’s association with Crowley didn’t last long partly because, although barely twenty years old at the time, he had begun work on The Book of Pleasure, and was beginning to form his own ideas concerning the practice of magic. As well as drawings, it includes detailed instructions for his system of sigilization and the well known ‘death postures’. He has much to say about human hypocrisy, religion and the meanings of true personal freedom and power. The Book of Pleasure reeks of diabolism to such an extent that Mario Praz in The Romantic Agony (Oxford, 1933) refers to Spare as an English “satanic occultist”, and he places him in the same category as his nemesis Aleister Crowley. The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love) is seen by many as the core of Austin Spare’s magical philosophy and his most important and influential work.’ — & Fulgur Limited


The Book of Pleasure (Self Love)

‘The Book of Pleasure’ @ Wikipedia
‘The Book of Pleasure’ @ goodreads
Video: Austin Osman Spare the book of pleasure part1
AOS @ Fulgur
Austin Osman Spare: An introduction to his psycho-magical philosophy, by Kenneth Grant
The Neither-Neither World of Austin Osman Spare
How magic works.
Austin Osman Spare: The man art history left behind
“Book of Pleasure” Lost chapters
Buy ‘The Book of Pleasure’


‘Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956) is one of the most influential and innovative figures in twentieth century occultism. A natural artist and psychic, Spare’s explorations of the creative focus gave rise to an ontology and body of work that departs radically from conventional occultism, both then and now. Ahead of his time, he was dismissed by Crowley early in his career, but found appreciation and understanding with the next generation, who embraced his ideas with alacrity.

‘A true Londoner, Spare was born in December 1886 near the Holborn Viaduct and spent most of his life no more than 10 miles from his place of birth. Living in the shadow of a burgeoning Smithfield Market, the family soon moved south of the river to Kennington, then a vibrant borough with music halls, taverns and a history of political and religious dissent. Spare’s formative years were spent at the school attached to the nearby Catholic church of St. Agnes, yet although many of his early drawings show us traditional religious themes, there is also evidence of interests in Eastern mysticism, Theosophy and Spiritualism. This latter movement was to become a key influence in the development of Spare’s ontology, especially the central role played by ‘automatism’ which came to form the basis of the artist’s modus operandi.

‘In 1904 a small drawing executed when Spare was just fourteen was accepted into the Royal Academy Summer show and he was thrust suddenly into the public gaze. The experience was stressful, but proved to be a catalyst, for the following year Spare published his first book, Earth: Inferno. It remains a powerful work and made clear Spare’s agenda: mystical, grotesque, often dark and polemic, Earth: Inferno seeks to challenge the reader to see the world askance, through the eyes of the artist. A second folio, more politically slanted and titled with mocking humor A Book of Satyrs was privately published in 1907 – just prior to his first notorious West End exhibition at The Bruton Gallery. If there had been any doubt as to Spare’s intent, this show dispelled any lingering uncertainty. One critic wrote: “His inventive faculty is stupendous and terrifying in its creative flow of impossible horrors …” The shy boy artist from Kennington had become the enfant terrible of Mayfair.

‘The years between 1909 and 1913 were Spare’s golden era. He staged several West End exhibitions and enjoyed numerous commissions from private collectors and publishers. The period reached its apex in 1913 with the publication of Spare’s masterpiece, The Book of Pleasure. Inspired by his marriage to the actress Eily Gertrude Shaw in 1911 the book is now regarded as a classic in 20th century esoteric studies. Complex and obscure, Spare’s writing in The Book of Pleasure sketches out a vision of a magical process entirely devoid of ceremony and thus swept away all conventional notions of ritual praxis.

‘By the outbreak of War, Spare’s marriage was faltering. His refusal to compromise artistically left him vulnerable to the shifting cultural zeitgeist and the ensuing financial difficulties, combined with his conscription as an Official War Artist, placed enormous pressure on the relationship. But is was Spare’s satyr-like sexual reputation that probably ended the marriage: his fourth book, The Focus of Life, published in 1921, delivers a dream-like narrative and voluptuous pencil nudes – none of which were his wife. It was well received, but Spare found himself out-of-step and alienated from London’s art society and he retreated to his roots in South London.

‘The 1920s were a period of intense introspection for the artist. Living and working in his tiny studio in the Borough Spare’s anger and frustration manifested in 1927 with his last published book Anathema of Zos: it was not well received. After the failure of his 1927 and 1929 shows, Spare produced his most commercial work for years. His exhibition at the Godfrey Philips Gallery in 1930 was full of beautiful elongated portraits of women and film stars collectively titled “Experiments in Relativity”. Despite the global depression they were a moderate success, but it was to be his last West End show for 17 years and by 1932 Spare joked with his journalist friend Hannen Swaffer that he was contemplating “the gas oven”.

‘Salvation came in an unexpected form, an old sweetheart Ada Millicent Pain inspired Spare to renew his efforts and the arrival of Surrealism in London in 1936 gave him added impetus. At the age of fifty, Spare’s abilities to produce exquisite, fine ink and pencil drawings were deteriorating and he shifted his focus towards the more fluid medium of pastels. His three shows of 1936, 1937 and 1938 received significant press coverage, but tragically in 1941, at the height of the Blitz, Spare’s studio in the Walworth Road received a direct hit and was completely destroyed. Spare was injured and after some months as a nomad he found a home in Brixton with his childhood friend Ada Millicent Pain. Yet Spare, nearly 60 and in failing health, was about to enter one of the most productive and successful periods of his life.

‘His exhibition at the Archer Gallery in 1947, engineered by his journalist friend Dennis Bardens and for which he produced over 200 works, was almost a complete sell-out and ushered in his astonishing post-war renaissance. Assisted by his friend Frank Letchford and inspired by the late Aleister Crowley’s protégé Kenneth Grant and his wife Steffi, Spare’s exhibitions mid tavern-shows of the early 1950s showed a mature artist of incredible vigour and imaginative power. At the age of sixty-eight his command of the pastel medium could scarcely be equaled and he received the willing patronage of doctors, psychologists, journalists, teachers, critics and connoisseurs.’ — Robert Ansell



Alan Moore on Austin Osman Spare

Heavenly Creatures – L’Ange Dechu (For Austin Osman Spare)

Austin Osman Spare: A collection of 77 works

An Interview with Austin Spare YT




p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi, D!!!! Me too, no surprise. Oh, wow, very hard to choose. Uh, true, Ghost Pet is hard to beat, but I keep thinking that hand puppet at the top could come in handy, although I’m not sure why. Yeah, I guess because of the film fundraising troubles, I do seem to want love to be a greedy capitalist lately. Sad. Houellebecq … he’s a good writer. His early novels are pretty good. But in France he’s a total media whore and controversy baiter who’ll write/say/do anything to get attention, and lately he’s flirting with Islamophobia and fascist stuff to court the Far Right because it’s the most controversial thing he can do, and I find him both boring and irritating. He’s kind of like the Kanye West of French lit. Aw, poor, lonely love. Let’s talk the Nobel Prize committee into giving out a Nobel Prize for charm and beauty and then make sure Love wins it or something, G. ** _Black_Acrylic, Maybe it’s just me, but I immediately see that future baby vs. dog battle as a subject for one of your stories? Your Play Therapy did the exact opposite of cave my weekend’s head in. It was one of my faves so far! I so hope your dad is out of pain and home and spry by now. ** CAUTIVOS, Hi! You mean was I friends with Kathy Acker? Yes, but not really, really close friends. But we visited when we were in the same cities and went to each others’ events and had a lot of mutual respect. I didn’t know how ill she was until she died. I know a lot of people who were close with her who were very angry with her for not getting treatment for her cancer, but, like I said,I didn’t know how bad her cancer was until too late. Does that answer your question? Sorry not to answer you in Spanish, but I’m very happy that you’re commenting here in your own language. I don’t trust Google translate. Take care! Thank you! ** David Ehrenstein, Ha ha, I knew you were going to do that. ** Misanthrope, Sublime? Whoa, big word, thank you. Rigby should write everything, but maybe not your back cover copy. ** Steve Erickson, If Houellbecq could figure out a way to make the transformation into a flamingo a “subtle” anti-Muslim statement I’m sure he’d employ it. I’ll try your music selections, thank you, although the Utada sounds a little scary. Oh, if you haven’t seen the latest Pedro Costa film ‘Vitalina Varela’ I very highly recommend it. It’s great in general, and visually it’s just mesmerising. I too liked the Poly Styrene doc quite a bit. Very cool that you’re interviewing the directors. ** Bill, Thanks, Bill. They were fun to gather up. ‘Decoder’, I’ve heard of that. Like Told Steve, I saw the latest Pedro Costa film last night, and it’s pretty incredible. ** David, Hi. Cold here too. No running for me other than trying to get in the metro car’s doors before they close. I’m so sorry you lost your dad when you were so young. You were roommates with Dale Peck?! Now that’s something I never expected to hear even from do-it-all you. Gorgeous poem. I only read it through fast ‘cos the p.s. takes too much of my brain, but I’ll go back to it once I’m more coffee-d and less p.s.-ed. Thanks. ** Shane, Hi, Shane. ** Leonard Frey, Hi. Nifty: awesome. Secretly, my goal in life is niftiness. Suggestions about your hateful mom? I had one of those. Vast emotional distance and as much physical distance as you can manage. ‘Hell, Yes’, indeed. ** Okay. When I originally posted this post years ago, it was kind of impossible to see/read the above booklets by Austin Osman Spare anywhere else, which gave the post a kind of special value. I believe that in the years since said booklets have become easier access, so the post’s exclusivity thing is gone, but maybe it can still rock certain boats? See you tomorrow.

“Pet” “Shop”

The Kokeromin Cat Musical Instrument Hand Puppet
It’s harder than it looks and it’s literally more interesting than it sounds. It actually takes a lot of skill and creativity to make good tunes and melodies just with your hand movements inside the puppet. The unique musical toy offers proper scales and 12 different types of tones and sounds, including drums!




Furifuri Nyaundo Cat
Ever wondered what kind of music a cat plays if you shake it?! Well, with the Furifuri Nyaundo Cat you can find out! Available in three colors (white, black or blue), just shake these feline instruments to make cute sounds and create your own music.


モヤモヤさまぁ~ず2(2013年:駒込の回)で登場した言葉を”おうむ返­し”しながらバタバタ動き回る『愛嬌満点』の憎めない猿です 御鑑賞アリガトウ御座います!癒しになったとのコト、幸いです!­コヤツ(猿)は久し振りに100%満足できた買い物でした


Kumamon is a famous character which acts as a mascot for a Kumamoto prefecture Japan. Such characters in Japan are called “yuru-kyara”.


「こえマネ わんちゃん」はこちらが話した言葉や音を覚えて、動きながらマネしてくれる、とっても­かわいい玩具です。ネコのミーちゃん、ペンギンのペンちゃん、犬のワンちゃん、パンダ­のリンちゃん、ハムスターのハムちゃんがいます。


Robi Jr
This little fellow is more than just a toy. He’s a household friend who can speak, sing, move his arms and head. He talks to you using around 1,000 phrases and can even understand certain expressions. Call his name to get his attention. While he can only speak in Japanese, he offers fortune-telling, seasonal phrases, comments about the time of day, and more. His eyes flash in different colors so you can see his mood. With his infrared sensors he can also detect where you are and turn to face you when he speaks.




Ghost Pet
Bouncing happy pet that laughs at your jokes and repeats what you’ve said. Great gift to take to business meetings or gift for the kids.


Bandai SmartPet Robot Dog
All hail the next generation of Aibo, the SmartPet by Bandai, the robot dog pet for the iPhone or iPod user. Interact with your pet via the touchscreen and also get him to do things according to what he sees and hears thanks to the camera. And put another Smartpet nearby and they will use Bluetooth to interact and communicate.


動物は家族の一員!!! 本当の愛情を思うと飼えない


Hide and Seek clock-chan Happy (Pink)
Tell time clock-Chan “chatted” with. Delight in action appearing face, hands and feet when talking! Our watch and talk, like your friends time announcement function will tell the time in the word and at a set time to alarm wake me up, as well.


Cat Grey LOL Rollover Laughing Plush Toy
The laugh out loud rolling, laughing pet! You can’t help but laugh along with the LOL Rollover Pet. It rolls around back and forth on the floor laughing hysterically.


Electronic Butterfly in a Jar
There is absolutely no way you can look at a Electronic Butterfly in a Jar and not smile. It is like having a piece of magic nature on your desk that defies death.


DJ Rap Mimicry Pet Talking Electronic Rabbit
If you talk to MC Mimicry, it will repeat your words back to you, but in a rap song! You can turn the music on and off. MC Mimicry is just waiting to snuggle with you and be your best friend so buy it now!


Takara-Tomy Porale Singing Polar Bear
The oh-too-cute Porale is a great toy for kids that sings and hums eleven different well-known tunes, and even responds to being touched or patted on the shoulder. This sweet white polar bear comes in two colors, red or blue, with different scarves for each one. Just press the switch on his left paw to get him to start singing the songs!


PakuPaku Chorus Cat Puppet Instrument
During the puppet with four buttons! Cute doremi? s authentic sounds played.”in the sound of an animal animal puppet doll in with four buttons! You can play the Notes 8 scales with a combination of buttons. Has animal sounds are all become her meowing the cat.


Pekoppa Plant listens to your feelings
The Pekoppa from Sega Toys is an innovative new communication plant that can respond to your speech with physical reactions using an internal “bio metal” that moves and bends depending on the current put through it. Pekoppa uses an internal chip that detects patterns in human speech, and responds to you by bending the stem and moving the leaves. A deep “bow” by Pekoppa shows agreement with what you’re saying, so you can carry on a two-way conversation without missing a beat!


Straining Dog
ハイセンスなコレクタブルアイテムが登場!誰もが見たことのある あの最中を丁寧にソフビにしてみました。なんとも言えない 絶妙な『あの』感じを究極の癒やしに。。


おさわり探偵なめこ栽培キット ダンシングスピぐるみ


Otona no Kagaku Bird Organ
These diminutive music boxes were a cherished ornament in the drawing rooms of ladies in 18th century France and now can have a place in yours too. Simply scroll the punch card through the organ to coax a tune of chirping canaries through the pipes. Did we mention you get to construct it yourself?


Happiness Owl
The irresistibly cute Happiness Owl responds to you when you speak with hoots, noises and dialogue. Perching on a tree branch that you can sit on a table or surface, this owl will be your new best friend to make long study sessions at your desk go faster and comfort you if you’re lonely. He blinks his eyes and moves his head, and even plays music to you. There are four types of owls. Get all the owls together to create a chorus!


Tamiya Centipede Robot
The colors make the Tamiya Centipede Robot easy on the eye. Building it is also easy, so you will have it, well, while not exactly “up and running,” at least “down and slithering” in no time. See how it moves over various terrains (its antennae allow it to adjust to uneven surfaces) and contemplate how its living relatives evolved and function in nature. As realistic as a genuine mukade, but without the dangerous sting!


Fridgeezoo Extreme
Japan’s most popular shut-the-fridge-door reminder toy is back with two new versions. Fridgeezoo Extreme comes in either a walrus design called Beast or a penguin called Reporter. Beast is voiced by former wrestler Bob Sapp, while Reporter features the vocals of veteran journalist Noriko Shoji. Not only do these funny toys look hilarious sitting in your refrigerator, they feature 27 different voice patterns, including some partly in English (courtesy of Bob Sapp’s Beast). Guaranteed to amuse (or annoy?!) family and friends, as well as genuinely encourage you to save electricity by closing the fridge door.


Disney Stitch Humidifier
Your office might be dry and boring, but the area around your desk doesn’t have to be. Same goes for your child’s playroom and bedroom! The Stitch Humidifier uses your powered USB port or an AC adapter to pump moisture out through Stitch’s open mouth, making your area more comfortable and…obviously…cute.


Peeing Dog
From the makers of the classic Choken Bako comes the Peeing Dog, a toy canine that totters along by itself…and, yes, pees! Put some water in and watch the pooch raise his leg and mark his territory! With three cute types to choose from, this is the latest wacky toy from Japan that should take the world by storm.




p.s. Hey. ** David, Hi. Ah, yes, I remember that scene from ‘Quadrophenia’. Very scenic yet treacherous. You guys have some seriously great cliffs over there. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Yes, we could get rich and, at least in Leo’s case, it wouldn’t make a dent on his end. Clearly us befriending some troubled billionaires is the solution for everyone concerned. Oh, yes, I imagined him in the tumbling bedroom, of course! Ha ha, I think I would like Michel Houellebecq turned into a flamingo with a tiny backpack for some reason. Love copyrighting his name retroactive to the days of the cavemen and suing everyone throughout recorded history who’s ever used his name in a sentence for copyright infringement, G. ** David Ehrenstein, Thanks for re-linking. I’m not sure about ‘best thing’, but they were/are awfully great, that’s for damned sure. Thank you for your knowledge and insight! ** Misanthrope, I’m pretty good at spotting sociopaths, but it took me a long time, and they do still sneak through the old defences sometimes. This week! Awesome! Curious what press you guys have in mind, but I’ll wait until the reveal is appropriate. Well, yeah, back cover copy is definitely a plus. I’m terrible at that selling point stuff, but I imagine you’ll sort it. ** Ah, the Kuchars had a quietening effect on you lot, interesting. Not sure if my “pet” “shop” will fare any better, but there’s only one way to find out. See you tomorrow.

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