All posts by Kevin I. Slaughter

Inscription | 1932 | Arthur Leonard Ross | The Muse of Lies

Ben dedicated his The Last Supper from “DeCasseres Books” to Mr. Ross.

Paul Avrich’s Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America gives this brief biographical sketch of Mr. Ross:

Arthur Leonard Ross, a New York attorney, met Emma Goldman in Paris in 1924 and became her legal representative in the United States, from which she had been deported in December 1919. He helped raise money for the purchase of her cottage in St. Tropez, sent books to her for her preparation of lectures in Toronto, negotiated with Alfred Knopf for the publication of her autobiography, and helped arrange her visit to the United States in 1934. “Arthur Leonard Ross, kindest and most lavish of men,” she wrote in St. Tropez in 1931, “gave me his untiring efforts as legal representative and adviser…. He was the rare type that one gets to consider in a short time as a good friend?” Ross died in New York in the spring of 1975.

Dear Arthur,
There are only four copies of this book–probably the most restricted edition of any work.
There is an error in the copyright line. It should be 1936, there is a page missing giving an account of other books and the ??? ??? is missing.
I am retaining 3 copies for myself and present this again to you with salutations.

Yours, Ben
To Arthur Leonard Ross
from
Benjamin De Casseres
New York, 1936

The signature of Ben DeCasseres…

As Curtis Weyent pointed out in a post on his blog, Ben DeCasseres’ signature is often wildly inconsistent.  With that in mind, I collected every signature I have of Benjamin DeCasseres, from letters to inscriptions and regular “signed copy” signatures. There is up to two decades between some of these signatures, but I have not ordered them in any way.

Inscription | 1929 | Al Satterwhaite | The Superman in America

Welcome to a new category of post called “Signatures and Inscriptions.” If you click on the category, you will find all post we have made so far. If you would like to contribute an interesting signature, inscription, or letter (starting soon), please contact me. There is a form on the front page: http://www.benjamindecasseres.com/

Many thanks to Robert Carmonius for this contribution and some of the further research.

This inscription found in a copy of The Superman in America, and is dated the same year of publication, 1929.

Of interest is his “Anno Volstead 9”, I hadn’t seen him do that before (or I don’t recall it either way). Year nine of prohibition.



To Al Satterthwaite
in memory of those
nights so long ago when we
used to wander under the
morning stars talking Schopen-
hauer and Saltus, rending
life and the Universe to tatters–
since which time I–they–
have never been quite well,
for did not God say to me
over the other day, “Say, Ben, you
give me a pain in my
DeCasseres!” Venerably,
Benjamin DeCasseres
1929
Anno Volstead
9.


It seems both Benjamin DeCasseres and an Albert Satterthwaite contributed to Pendant la mêlée: acrate, individualiste, éclectique (title translates as During the melee), a French individualist anarchist publication from 1915-1916. The journal was one in a series associated with Emile Armand.


Heading of the journal of the first issue (CIRA de Lausanne)

November 15, 1915 , in full World War, exit the fortnightly Paris “during the melee ,” the newspaper proclaimed acrate, individualistic and eclectic. The manager is Charles Michel. From January 1916, the newspaper published in Orléans, change its name to ” beyond the fray .” The executive of a department of the newspaper then E.Armand but after the arrest of the latter in October 1917 (for desertion complicity) is Pierre Chardon who will succeed him until February 1918. The following month, the newspaper will change as for ” The Melee “.  – translated by Goole from http://www.ephemanar.net/novembre15.html


This postcard with text from “Alba Satterthwaite” was found at:
http://cartoliste.ficedl.info/article2385.html?lang=fr

Ignorance in the brain, hatred in the heart, cowardice in the will, these are the crimes I impute to the idea of ​​God and his fatal corollary: religion. — SÉBASTIEN FAURE.

The most terrible fact to the charge of Christianity is neither its intolerance, nor its tortures, nor its excommunications, nor its internal wars, nor its fatuity or falsehood, but this: it teaches man To resign himself to life, not to enjoy it, thereby depriving him of the most precious possession he has acquired by right of birth. He teaches him to be satisfied with social injustice. He taught her to tighten the other cheek and not to resist the evil. He treacherously induces him to barter the present, now, for a mythical beyond. And this is why men who are intellectually intellectually reject with sincere repugnance his theology, his dogma and his profession of faith. — ALBA SATTERTHWAITE

DeCasseres in Mencken’s “The Smart Set”

Before The American Mercury, there was The Smart Set. Wikipedia says: “The Smart Set was an American literary magazine, founded by Colonel William d’Alton Mann and published from March 1900 to June 1930. During its heyday under the editorship of H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan (1914-1923), The Smart Set offered many up-and-coming authors their start and gave them access to a relatively large audience. Its headquarters was in New York City….
…the magazine featured works by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Theodore Dreiser, Aldous Huxley, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene O’Neill and Dashiell Hammett, among others.”
I have subsequently added Ben’s name to that list.


“A Conversation Between George Bernard Shaw and the Dictionary”- Vol. XLIV,  No. 4 – December, 1914

“Variations On An Old Theme” – Vol. LIII, No. 1 – September, 1917

“The Resignation Of New York” – V o l. L III,  N o . 2 – October , 1 9 1 7

“The Psychology Of The Avenue” – Vol. LV, No. 1 – May, 1918

“Little Scenarios,” Vol. LXI,  No. 3 – March, 1920

“Four One-Reel Movies” – Vol. LXI, No. 4 – April, 1920

“The Last Satire of a Famous Titan” – Vol. LX II, No. 2 – June, 1920

“Sub Specie Eternitatus” – Vol. LXVIII  No. 2 – June, 1922

“The Nietzschean Follies: VIII, The Muse of Lies” – Vol. LXIX, No. 1 – September, 1922

“The Nietzschean Follies: IX, From the Breviary of a Nihilist” – Vol. LXIX, No. 2 – October, 1922

Missing Boy Found in the Delaware River

Article from The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 3 Apr 1900.

Details finding the body of Walter, Benjamin’s brother, who committed suicide. Ben would later publish a collection of Walter’s poetry title The Sublime Boy.

Article gives home address as 1929 N 31st St Philadelphia, PA.

 

Communists and Civil Rights

(as printed in the Syracuse NY Journal, on 12-21-1934)
By BENJAMIN DeCASSERES

THE case of Alexius Karllson, the alien Communist held at Ellis Island for deportation, is full of that ironic mirth which is said to make the gods laugh at all things mortal and which we on earth call the “horselaugh.”

Karllson, whose only use for America is to turn it into a Communistic slave-state, had his lawyer apply for a writ of habeas corpus. He wants to stay in this accursed capitalistic country. He demands the right to go on talking and plotting—neither of which he could do in his own ideological Utopia, Russia, without an early morning trip to the live-target yard.

Federal Judge Goddard denied the writ on the ground that membership in the Communist party was proof of conspiracy to overthrow the government.


Aside from the momentous nature of this decision, the question arises why these enemies of the American form of government are so loath to leave our shores.

They exhaust every legal resource of this hateful “bourgeois-capitalistic-ruggedly individualistic” democracy to stay here.

They appeal—with perfectly straight faces—to their “rights” per the constitution—that constitution which they would tear into bits.

They abjectly petition judges and bureau chiefs at Washington to keep them here, where they are, so they claim, being “exploited” and “enslaved”—those very judges and bureau chiefs that they would not only abolish but lift into the air with a gentle bomb or two.

They use, in a word, all the privileges that a free democratic country accords them—free speech, free pen and a free soap-box—TO ADVOCATE THE ABOLITION OR ALL THESE SWEAT-AND-BLOOD-BOUGHT PRIVILEGES.

WE PERMIT these aliens to use our own culture and civilized practices for the purpose of destroying us!


No wonder they want to stay here! Think of the loot! It is like inviting a man to sit in your office chair so that he can more comfortably shoot you.

The Communists, both of the foreign and home-spawned varieties, are strong for the preservation of American civil liberties when their own liberties are threatened.

But when they come into power, as in Russia, presto!– all civil liberties disappear and the Karllsons line up against a wall anyone who utters those words of hated democratic. capitalistic origin, civil liberties.

A political dissenter in Russia when arrested is hurried before a MILITARY TRIBUNAL. He has no counsel (that is a capitalistic custom). There is not even a trial. There is a “hearing” (the military tribunal HEAR themselves pronounce sentence). and the objector to Communism is hurried up against a wall.

The only writ of habeas corpus is written by the vultures if the fellow is not buried in quicklime.


Sixty-six of these cases in one day in the last Communist “purge”!

And Karllson and his Communist plotters gawp about their “rights”!

As a matter of fact, Karllson and his alien cronies know that they are having the time of their lives in free America. They never breathed freely before they came here.

But it is time to check the breathing of these plotters, of all plotters of all patterns—Communists, Nazists and Fascists—and make them understand that this democratic- individualistic republic is still a going concern.

The Communists dish it out (in Russia), but they can’t take it (in the U. S. A.).

THERE SHOULD BE NO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN THEM.

The dictatorship of the proletariat means the end of everything that is fundamentally American ! Liberty, self-reliance, private property, civil procedure, free speech, free press and even free movement.

It would be the return of ant-civilization. Instead of the free-flying eagle as our emblem a Communist regime would substitute A BUG.

What the Communists here need is a dish of their own cooking. Do unto them as they have done unto the minorities in Russia!

The time for action is NOW. Let democracy destroy Communism. Don’t wait until the Fascist man-on-horse-back appears!

The ghost books of Benjamin DeCasseres…

“So far as I know, DeCasseres was the only author who was proud of his unpublished books.” So said Charles Driscoll in his memorial to the recently passed on DeCasseres:

What follows are titles of DeCasseres books announced but (probably) never published (under the titles given in advance at least):

Words, Words, Words*
The Book of Vengeance
The Second Advent

*This title was actually advertised as forthcoming outside of DeCassere’s own materials, so it is possible that it was published and has become a lost work. In the March 9th, 1918 issue of Publisher’s Weekly, in the “Spring Announcements.” It’s listed as being published by “Goodman” and retails for 90 cents.

On the back flyleaf of Mencken and Shaw, listed under the header of “Books to be Released Later,” these titles were never published:

The Overlord
The Complete American*
The Ego Epic
Mars and the Man
The American Comedy
The Comedy of Hamlet

*This title was published as an essay in The American Mercury, a series of biographical sketches of famous Americans: P.T.Barnum, Jesse James, William Jennings Bryan, Dr. Frank Crane, Billy Sunday, Theodore Roosevelt, Edgar A. Guest, Woodrow Wilson.

The following were listed on the back cover of The Muse of Lies, along with other titles, under the header “Ready for Publication.” Of the other titles listed, all of them were published as “DeCasseres Books”, so it’s possible these were a planned part of that series.

Symphonies of the Ego
Chaos and Cosmos
The American Comedy (repeated)
The Complete American (repeated)

On the back of The Muse of Lies, but under the header “In Preparation” is the following:

Nietzsche

In a “DeCasseres Book”, but I don’t recall which one at the time, the following is mentioned:

Nutopia

This website http://www.authorandbookinfo.com/ngcoba/de.htm lists two odd items, not sure of their source:

Edelweiss And Mandragora
Counsels Of Imperfection

These two actually had descriptions on the inside back flap of the dustjacket for DeCassere’s Huneker.

Poses and Postures
Currents and tendencies of the American Drama. Serious and humorous analyses of the Shows of the Day, as they pass through Mr. Casseres’ brilliant imagination and are caught on the rapier of his wit. Price, $3.00

Somersaults
A book of literary criticisms in which all standards are smashed; ”an intellectual adventure among books and ideas with a humorous Ulysses. Price, $2.50.

I’m sure more will be added to this list at some point, I had not intended on publishing it, but finding a few more pushed me to assemble what I knew into a post.

Introducing UnionOfEgoists.com and Der Geist Journal…

UnionHeader

tbmsbibIntroducing the Union of Egoists, a biographical, historical, bibliographic and inspirational resource for autodidacts and vagabonds alike. A project initiated by Trevor Blake (Confessions of a Failed Egoist & Max Stirner Bibliography) and Kevin I. Slaughter (A Bible Not Borrowed from the Neighbors: Essays and Aphorisms on Egoism).
The first Egoist Max Stirner, Egoist Feminist Dora Marsden, defacto Satanist Benjamin DeCasseres, Social Darwinist Ragnar Redbeard and soap-box Superman Malfew Seklew are a few of the members of this Union of Egoists.
EgoCover-1963-LibertarianBookClub-682x1024Blake has described Egoism as being the claim that the individual is the measure of all things. In ethics, in epistemology, in aesthetics, in society, the Individual is the best and only arbitrator. Egoism claims social convention, laws, other people, religion, language, time and all other forces outside of the Individual are an impediment to the liberty and existence of the Individual.
UnionOfEgoists.com is also home to Der Geist, a blog(including facebook page)and forthcoming print journal. The print journal will focus exclusively on the 100 years between the publication of Stirner’s “Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum” and DeCasseres death in 1945.
You can support the project by contributing corrections or materials. Use the Contact page or view the Wanted list.

Introducing a single-volume Fantasia Impromptu, paperback and limited hardback…

Fantasia-Cover-01-17-16Fantasia Impromptu & FINIS
by Benjamin DeCasseres
Edited by Kevin I. Slaughter
Cover art by Josh McAlear
Underworld Amusements, 2016
Baltimore, MD
246 pages, 6×9″

Paperback:
Amazon.com
Underworld Amusements (US)
ASP (UK/EUR)

Hardback (edition of 13):
Underworld Amusements

Fantasia Impromptu & FINIS constitute Benjamin DeCasseres’ (1873-1945) most private writing, but even then, they were intended for publication and posterity. The first is a diary-like collection of notes and reminiscences began in December 1925. The latter was professed to be “a summation of all my books, of my lifelong beliefs.”
Fantasia Impromptu was released as a series of booklets, six in total, that constitute his “intellectual, emotional and spiritual autobiography.” They are filled with ruminations on daily life, aphorisms, esotericisms, and appeals to future readers. It is appropriately dedicated to: “The Thinkers, Poets, Satirists, Individualists, Dare-Devils, Egoists, Satanists and Godolepts of Posterity.”
FINIS is his final work, appropriately enough, and consists of three essays and a “hymn”, all previously unpublished. The one focus of all of these pieces is Oblivion. Though he states in his introduction is was not necessarily meant to be his last work, he died before it was published, and his wife Bio prepared an introduction and included a poem of dedication. FINIS was released as a booklet the year of his death and has never been reprinted before.

DeCasseres-Ltd-1020830

“The Species Ghost” in Moods magazine…

What follows is a review of Moods journal, containing mention of a DeCasseres article titled “The Species Ghost”. This was later published in the “DeCasseres Book” Saint Tantalus (1936). The review itself was published in Columbia Daily Spectator, Volume LII, Number 51, 21 November 1908.

What follows is a rough transcription of the above:

“MOODS” A UNIQUE MONTHLY New Venture in Literary Field

“Moods.” the new publication which has already been announced as being the work of four Columbia men, contains, in its November issue, a series of poems and prose pieces that follow the style of last year’s Columbia Monthly. Of the thirteen contributions to this number, eleven are in verse. “A Memoir of Wilbam Barrington” is the one long prose piece, being a recollection of an artist’s life in New York. It has vague suggestions of Hopkinson Smith, but lacking in his peculiar charm. Most of the work is by Columbia men, past or present, the exceptions being the above “memoir,” two poems by Leonard Van Noppen, and “The Species Ghost,” by Benjamin De Casseres. Columbia men who contribute are G. W. Cronyn ’10. J. H. Donohue ’08, E. Goodman ’08, B. R. Herts ‘OB, G. M. Lapolla ’10, R. L. Roeder ’10, S. O’Sheel (Sp.), and. C. S. VVttpperman ’08. “Moods” is attractive in its make up, closely approximating in size and general appearance Elbert Hubbard’s “Little Journeys”. The cover design, by Florence Southworth, is unique; a combination of parallel lines in different combinations, representing various moods. A peculiar style of type used gives the design a distinctly foreign appearance—rather German. “Moods” is intended, as is stated editorially, to encourage “artistic excellence, sincerity, and individuality,” and to discourage conformity. In addition to the articles, there are three regular departments: “The Home of Thespis,” “The Art Lover,” and “Chords and Discords.”