Found –Life (Dent, London 1921) an unillustrated book of aphorisms by the great illustrator E. J. Detmold (Edward Julius – the portrait is by his twin brother Charles Maurice and the rabbit is by E.J.). The book is the publisher’s own retained copy with their stamp on the fep reading ‘FILE’. Also a pencilled note by someone at Dent revealing that Detmold wrote 2 other similar philosophical/ religious works for Dent both published anonymously ‘Greater things, and a greater than things’ 1923 and ‘Selflessness’ 1922. WorldCat did not know these were by Detmold and we have added a note at their vast site All 3 books are scarce. His biographer Keith Nicholson notes:
“Life, his only unillustrated work, a book of aphorisms, was published by J. M. Dent in 1921. A key book to an understanding of Detmold’s mind, Life is an inauspicious-looking small volume printed on one side of the leaf only. In his preface the author writes: `The following words have come to the writer, over a period of many years, as the fruits of self-overcoming.’ From the curious, mystical text we learn that there are two ways of attainment: `The direct positive way – through progressive liberation – passing from the lesser realization of the body, to the greater realization of the mind, and therefrom to the realization of the infinite through the soul; and the direct negative way -through disillusionment – which comes of infatuation with things in themselves, and the inevitable passing thereof.’ In the event, ‘Life’ was Detmold’s farewell to the public world of books, and his testament. Resigned from the world, Detmold went to live in Montgomeryshire where, after a long retirement and almost totally forgotten, he died in July, 1957.”
Its a curious, deeply religious work, some of it written as if channelled from the unconscious, or beyond. Page 24 merely has these words:
“I am spirit
wherein alone, the souls of men,
meet in perfect oneness;
I am the root of true friendship.”
Page 16 has just these words at the top and bottom of the page:
” Dominion is life.
Subjection is death.”
In 50 pages, beautifully printed by Charles Whittingham and Griggs (Chiswick Press), there are less than 1500 words. It seems a shame that such a talented illustrator should stop drawing for the last 36 years of his life. There are many cases of this in art and literature, creative persons who suddenly stopped producing work, often for religious reasons – Alvin Langdon Coburn, Rosemary Tonks, Raduan Nassar come to mind. Please let us know of any others.