CHUBB, Ralph

The Sun Spirit. A Visionary Phantasy

Fair Oak, near Kingsclere: Privately published by the author. 1931.

Limited edition. Number two of thirty copies, this is one of the twenty four uncoloured copies, printed on Hollingworth paper, the first page printed in red. 385x275mm. pp. [10], 16, [8]. Seven full-page lithographed plates and other illustrations in the text. Original tan half morocco, cloth covered boards. Upper cover stamped in gilt with a figure of nude boy and lettered in gilt. Spine lettered in gilt. Rubbing to head and foot of spine and to joints. Slight marking to covers and some rubbing to the cloth on the lower board but otherwise a very good copy and internally near fine save for some minor toning to edges.
Ralph Chubb (1892-1960) "was both a prophet and paiderast" (Oliver Drummond, International Journal of Greek Love, 1965). After service in WWI, he studied at the Slade. During the early 1920s, he had some success as an artist and produced three hand-printed books linked by their treatment of sexuality and the male body. The third of these, A Fable of Love and War, introduces us to Chubb's enthusiasm for young boys, an enthusiasm diluted here by his only description of heterosexual coupling. Henceforth women would appear in Chubb's work only as idealised mothers of even more idealised adolescents. In the late 1920s, Chubb's other obsession was the creation of a book which would "combine poetical idea, script and design in free and harmonious rhythm -- all unified together -- so as to be mutually dependent and significant". The Sun Spirit is that book, a lithographic reproduction of Chubb's illustrations and manuscript, painstakingly constructed and printed in a very small limitation. It is a curious mixture of autobiography and psychic spirituality drawing on Blake (Chubb's illustrations are shot through with Blake), Dante and the Bible in which the Devil is overcome by a divine vision in the form of a beautiful young boy who might be either Eros or Jesus. Chubb was a fine artist and his lithographs are wonderful. His poetry, however, is overwrought and overwritten but he genuinely believed that our spiritual apotheosis would manifest itself in the form of an androgynous adolescent.

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