Friday, August 17, 2012

Aleister Crowley - Patriot?

Known best for his involvement in the occult and reputation as the "wickedest man in the world," Aleister Crowley also appears to have had something of a patriotic streak - or a healthy dose of cynicism and a good command of propaganda technique.

In 1942 Crowley penned a short poem called La Gauloise. Subtitled "The Song of the Free French" the piece praised the courage and determination of the members of the French Resistance. Eventually used by the BBC as lyrics for a patriotic song, it was a none too subtle call to continue the struggle against the Nazis and a reminder that England and France were united in purpose and spirit - at least in this war. It's ironic that Crowley, given his public persona, could seemingly be so moved by a sentiment not overtly self-serving and with no apparent personal reward. True feeling or not?

Also included on the title page is the phrase Createur de signe V which references Crowley's claim to have invented the famous gesture, used by Winston Churchill and others, as a counter to the swastika symbol.

Our copy is the second edition (also published in 1942) and the subtitle is slightly modified to "The Song of the Fighting French."  Ask for Rauner Rare Book PR 6005 .R7 G3.

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