Poems & Prose from Victor Neuburg & the Vine Press 1920–1930
240 pp., 5 x 8 in, 16 b&w illus.
- Published: August 16, 2022
A collection of rare pagan poetry and purple prose from the heart of the 1920s counterculture.
Victor Neuburg is most famous for two things: discovering Dylan Thomas, and being the man that Aleister Crowley once turned into a camel. Obsolete Spells offers another side of Neuburg, through his own poems and the strange books of Vine Press, the hand-operated imprint he ran from his West Sussex cottage between 1920 and 1930.
Neuburg's youth involved terrifying-yet-farcical years as Crowley's lover, victim, and magickal sidekick. His later period, as editor of the influential "Poet's Corner" column for the Sunday Referee, made him a key figure in London's literary scene.
But in between, Neuburg acted as a conduit for bohemian writers, arts luminaries, and the sexually adventurous: Peter Warlock set his words to music, singer Marian Anderson lived in his spare room, and he was a fixture at utopian community, the Sanctuary. Through it all, he turned the handle on the Vine Press: books of nature writing and anonymous song; poems and artwork worthy of The Wicker Man, side-by-side with a book on cricket.
Obsolete Spells offers a selection of Neuburg's work and from other Vine Press books—over-the-top hymns to the Old Gods, tales from a utopian landscape, and more, most of which have been out of print for a century.