A Fine Press Edition Translated Into English.
The ‘Little Albert’ is a grimoire and book of secrets first published in France in 1700s. The text ranks as one of the most infamous books in the grimoire corpus, though much of its infamy stems from the 18th century hucksters who populated Rural Europe with copies of their merchandise. Although the tome is criticized by the likes of Arthur Edward Waite and Eliphas Levi before him, they nonetheless mention it many times throughout their several books. As a book of ritual magic it relies heavily on other sources, namely Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. Yet in addition to the grimoire material consisting of talismanic images, cabalistic magic and ritual perfumes, the book also features many wortcunning remedies, and alchemical recipes.
Magic squares and tables showing planetary hours are common in grimoire literature but also tend to appear in almanacks, which were also very popular. The folk remedies and recepies are drawn from that curious literary genre known as Books of Secrets. The famous alchemical bibliographer John Ferguson wrote a defining book on the subject as did William Eamon whose later text laid bare many intricacies of the tradition.
Some have classified such books as forbidden knowledge, indicating the scorn political or religious authorities placed upon these texts. Banned books always attract those with rebellious spirit or drawn by the pursuit of universal learning.
While the Petit Albert is by no means as sophisticated as other texts in the grimoire cycle (Lemegeton, Goetia, Clavicula Solomonis, Picatrix, etc.) it is perhaps the ubiquitiousness of its presence in Europe over many centuries that places it among the more famous texts of ceremonial magic. A book like the Petit Albert offers insight into the minds of rural folk magic practitioners and provides an example of the then (as now) popular practice of publishing of books of secrets. It also acts as a medium, through the spirit of the book, to open up an occult atmosphere conducive to operational praxis. The image of the magician, witch or wortcunner is almost always attended by the presence of the book of magic. It lends the practitioner the token of occult knowledge and power. Some are drawn by the promise of love, others, to gain fame or riches. Despite any claims made for the efficacy of such tomes, they nonetheless instill a sense of wonder and mystery in those who seek their pages.
Today antiquarian copies fetch serious money at both book fairs and at auction. For all the many thousands of copies that were printed over the centuries, it is surprising how rare this grimoire is. While the current era has its own grimoire printing renaissance underway, it was thought that an accessible English translation in fine press was needed given the rise in grimoire studies in the West of the 21st century. Within the pages of Petit Albert may be found one of the most noteworthy magic objects in the history of magic and witch- craft; The Hand of Glory. Richard Harris Barham wrote an homage to this ghastly talisman in his series of poetic tales The Ingolsby Legends. The Nurse’s Story: The Hand of Glory set the scene for the collection of the appendage from a hanged man at the gallows, describes the components and mentions Petit Albert as another recipe. He describes the use of the hand, even giving evocative phases to activate the talisman:
Now open lock To the Dead Man’s knock!
Fly bolt, and bar, and band! – Nor move, nor swerve Joint, muscle, or nerve,
At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand! Sleep all who sleep! – Wake all who wake! –
But be as the Dead for the Dead Man’s sake!!
This Ouroboros Press edition of Petit Albert was translated by Tarl Warwick. Printed in a limited edition comprising 1,500 exemplars. Of the fifteen-hundred, 1,000 are bound in publishers cloth, and a printed dust jacket. A further 475 copies in full leather with gilt titles & device. Twenty-five exemplars hand bound in full vellum feature two folding plates and a marbled slipcase with talismans set into the boards. Bookbindings executed by Ars Obscura. Book Design by William J. Kiesel.
Petit Albert: Small octavo, 178 pages. 30 woodcuts, charts and talismans.
See the colophon for the details of each edition.
Standard Cloth in Dust Jacket [1,000 exemplars]: $48.00
Deluxe Black Leather [475 exemplars]: $200.00
Imperial Vellum with Slipcase [25 exemplars]: $365.00
Release Details: The Petit Albert is at press with a delivery scheduled for April 2017. The handbound deluxe and imperial bindings will follow in May. Pre-orders are now open.