Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal


Aristocracy and the Meaning of Class Rule.

An Essay upon Aristocracy Past and Future.

London: The C. W. Daniel Company, 1931 Stock Code: 122974
Reserve Ask us a question

The Kaiser sees red

First edition, first impression. Presentation copy from Philip Morrell to Kaiser Wilhelm, with extensive annotations written in English by the Kaiser. Together with an autograph postcard signed from Kaiser Wilhelm, Doorn, 1931, to Philip Morrell, written in English in purple pencil across the whole of the back of the postcard beginning "According to your wish expressed in your kind letter I studied the book 'Aristocracy' which treats about everything else except Aristocracy. The author furnishes his readers with a striking example of what may become of man when he eliminates God, Saviour, Bible, Faith and Belief from his life and claps his immortal soul 'under hatches'". Also with an autograph letter signed from Ottoline Morrell's cousin Count Goddard Bentinck, 21 September 1931, to the author Philip and sending the letter with this copy of the book "which you kindly lent the Emperor, which I hope will reach you safely. His Majesty has written many annotations in it, which I am sure will interest you "

Ottoline Morrell met the Kaiser in Holland when staying with her cousin Count Goddard Bentinck and wrote in her journal: "He enters an exceedingly impressive figure, with a remarkably handsome head, a sailor like body - shorter than I had imagined but the head much finer - very alert and obviously histrionic and vain, but too cultivated and clever to show it".

The Kaiser's annotations in the book reveal his exasperation with the author; he writes several hundred words at the end of chapter 3. When the author talks about natural rulers and what makes them such, the Kaiser's comments in the margins include: "nonsense!", "because they feel it a Heaven imposed task!", "prescribed by the Christian religion!", "based upon the responsibility to Heaven". Where Mairet hopes that "Democracy will be saved", the Kaiser wishes instead: "May it go to hell where it came from." His final comment at the foot of the last page is: "This book is unmitigated, atheistic, spiritual Bolshevism".

The cultural critic Philippe Mairet (1886-1975) was hardly the raving Bolshevik of the Kaiser's complaints. In later life he described his allegiances as "Anglican and Royalist". He commented on the drafts of Eliot's Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948), which Eliot later dedicated to Mairet "in gratitude and admiration". But over his long career he espoused a number of extremely varied causes, including C. H. Douglas's theory of social credit. The firm of C. W. Daniel published many books that promoted vegetarian, pacifist, Tolstoyan ideals. Most of these books were published on a subsidy basis, with the author underwriting the costs of publication, or guaranteeing to buy a set number of copies.

Confused? Read our glossary


Tall octavo. Original red cloth, black cloth backstrip, spine lettered in gilt, edges uncut.


Numerous marginal pencil marks and comments in English in the neat and legible hand of the Kaiser. A little spotting, heaviest to title and advert leaf at rear, hinges cracked, a very good copy. Together with four black and white snapshots of the Kaiser and his wife by Lady Ottoline Morrell, taken in Holland, 1932, details to versos, each 8 x 11 cm.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book