Apologies for once again copying others' posts from the old place, but there's so much information it seems a shame to lose them. This one got a bit complicated. The cover of the Dover edition that Mark had posted had vanished from the original thread, but I'm pretty sure I've found one and hosted it at Flickr.
Demonik wrote: Robert W. Chambers - The King In Yellow (originally 1895: this edition, Ace undated)
Jack Gaughan: "based upon the cover of the first edition as designed by Robert W. Chambers
The Repairer Of Reputations The Mask The Court Of The Dragon The Yellow Sign The Demoiselle D'Ys The Prophet's Paradise The Street Of The Four Winds The Street Of The First Shell The Street Of Our Lady Of The Fields Rue Barree
When The King In Yellow was first published, it was at once recognized as a "masterpiece that could only have been written by a genius of the highest order". Robert W. Chambers was compared to Edgar Allen Poe, and his book was acclaimed as a "wealth of strange imaginative force."
The King In Yellow was a best-seller for many years - and its reputation still remains. An unforgettable work of the fantastic imagination, combining science fiction insight with the eeriest of terror fiction, it is still a book that no fantasy reader can afford to miss.
August Derleth wrote The King In Yellow remains today a masterpiece of its kind, and with the work of Poe and Bierce, shares the distinction of having contributed to the famed Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft."
There's been some debate about The King In Yellow on Cal's Dark Descent 2 thread. Personally, I'm not much bothered about any SF and fantasy attributes the book may or may not have, but pieces we might consider amongst "the eeriest of terror fiction" certainly appeal. The question is, how many of the stories in The King In Yellow qualify as horror?
I've not read it in years but my 'definites' would be The Repairer Of Reputations, The Yellow Sign and The Mask. I think Robert Lowdnes once included In The Court Of The Dragon in Magazine Of Horror, and something tells me that The Demoiselle D'Ys is a ghost story?
The good news is, you can download most of 'em (sadly, no Repairer ..., but you do get The Yellow Sign) from Horrormasters
Mark Samuels wrote: I do remember attempting to read the non-horror tales in The King In Yellow, but didn't get very far. This was quite a few years ago, when I had a copy of the book that contained the contents you've listed Dem.
Robert Price's introduction to The Hastur Cycle published by Chaosium Books contains some interesting material. Lovecraft appears to have discovered Chambers' KiY sometime in 1927, too late to have been a determining factor in the development of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos, but still early enough for HPL to have incorporated KiY references in his post-1927 stories, such as "The Whisperer in Darkness".
Introduction/ Robert M. Price; Haita the shepherd ; An inhabitant of Carcosa / Ambrose Bierce The repairer of reputations ; The yellow sign / Robert W. Chambers The river of night's dreaming / Karl Edward Wagner More light / James Blish The novel of the black seal / Arthur Machen The whisperer in darkness / H.P. Lovecraft Documents in the case of Elizabeth Akeley / Richard A. Lupoff The mine on Yuggoth / Ramsey Campbell Planetfall on Yuggoth / James Wade The return of Hastur / August Derleth The feaster from afar / Joseph Payne Brennan Tatters of the king / Lin Carter.
Karl Edward Wagner's tale is a modern gem.
Personally, I'm not much bothered about any SF and fantasy attributes the book may or may not have, but pieces we might consider amongst "the eeriest of terror fiction" certainly appeal. The question is, how many of the stories in The King In Yellow qualify as horror?
I've not read it in years but my 'definites' would be The Repairer Of Reputations, The Yellow Sign and The Mask.
[b[Calenture wrote[/b]: I won't add all my jottings here straight away as the post will get too big, but notes from 1999 summed them up with these two paragraphs:
The first four stories, about the supressed volume The King in Yellow are the mainstay of this collection; the fifth story, with its mix of time-travel, haunting and romance, is charming. The war story The Street of the First Shell very nearly brought my reading to a premature end. The Prophets' Paradise is another waste of space.
The remaining four love stories obviously owe much to Chambers's own art school education; The Street of the Four Winds and The Street of Our Lady of The Fields, the former poignant, the latter brilliantly happy, are the better of the four. A difficult book to recommend: at least a third of the book could be passed over. But there are still stories here which everyone should read, they are all time greats.
The Magazine of Horror, August 1965
Time travel, haunting, romance...
Raymond Chandler also wrote a short story entitled The King in Yellow (internet sources date it at both 1938 and 1945 - my Penguin edition of Pearls Are a Nuisance doesn't give a publication date), but you can guess that it ain't horror... The King in question is a trumpeter in yellow pajamas, who sits reads Chambers' book.
I also noticed a download available from Project Nuremberg, Dem'. Unfortunately, I can't tell you if they have Repairer, as the server was too busy at the time.
Mark Samuels: One of the more recent stories in this vein is Brian Keene's d**n good tale--"The King", in: Yellow--which turned up in A Walk on the Darkside and was reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #16. Well worth tracking down. Very creepy and horrid.
But I think the slimline Dover contains pretty much all of the RC weird essentials (with the exception of "The Purple Emperor" and "Passeur", which I'd have included in place of "Is the Ux Extinct?" and "In Quest of the Dingue")
Why did Lovecraft have such a high opinion of "The Harbour-Master"? It's middling imho.
All best Mark
Calenture: The King in Yellow by Robert W Chambers
Here are the synopses with comments of all the stories. The first four here will be of most interest to members of this forum. I have no information on any of the titles mentioned by Dem' above (and the August 1965 copy of The Magazine of Horror is the only one I've ever found)... which will make threads on them even more interesting - rather like some of those in the The Gruesome Cargoes site (advt). ;D
The Repairer of Reputations: The opening story from The King in Yellow depicts future America (1920 - the story was published in 1895) as a place of revolutions and suicide parlours. Hildred Castaigne has been released from an insane asylum, firm in the belief that the fall from his horse which affected his brain has in fact affected it only for the better, completely altering his character from that of a careless playboy to an energetic and ambitious schemer. During his convalescence he had bought and read The King in Yellow, a recurring motif like the Necronomicon in Lovecraft's stories, which brings madness upon the reader. Most of his time is spent in the company of the deranged and deformed Mr Wilde - the title's Repairer. Both Wilde and Castaigne are part of a secret revolution to take over the country in the name of The King in Yellow. A surprisingly readable story, Wilde's frequent encounters with his vicious cat - which he keeps apparently just to tease and fight with – are unforgettable.
The Mask: Boris Yvrain is a sculptor of genius, whose favourite model is his wife Genevieve. Yvrain's other interest, chemistry, leads him to the development of a liquid which turns to stone any living thing immersed in it. Alec is proud of Boris's skill as a sculptor, and has openly acknowledged his love for Genevieve. All three friends know that Boris is unlikely to produce any work of art which will match his Madonna, modelled upon Genevieve, which had been the sensation of last year's salon. There is simply not the time. So how will he maintain his reputation? Really rather a marvelous story.
In the Court of the Dragon: After reading The King in Yellow, the man takes to frequently attending the little church of St Barnabe. He takes comfort in the music of the organ, and the minister's sermons. But today he cannot concentrate. The organ music sounds dissonant; a strange pale faced man haunts the church. While his body is safe in the church, a strange hunt is begun for his soul.
The Yellow Sign: Scott is an artist, but today his painting is spoiled. Perhaps it's the turpentine, or perhaps he's been disturbed by the unusually ugly man who waits by the graveyard of the church next door. Scott's model, Tessie, is worried. She has had dreams of Scott drawn through the streets at night in a coffin. Probably the best known of these stories, though the first is better. This is the last of the stories in the book involving The King in Yellow.
The Demoiselle D’Ys: Philip is hunting on the moors when he misses his way. He encounters a beautiful woman, the Countess Jeanne d'Ys, her two helpers, and their great dogs and falcons. Enchanted by her old-fashioned mannerisms and speech, he falls in love with her, and she with him. She warns him of the moors: 'To come is easy and may take hours; to go is different - and may take centuries.' A beautifully told love story.
The Prophet’s Paradise: Waffly old-fashioned stuff about someone waiting for love and truth, and time passing by, apparently.
The Streeet of the Four Winds: Severn is visited by a cat wearing a woman's garter of rose-coloured silk with a silver clasp, around its neck for a collar. The cat is hungry, so he feeds it, wondering about the woman who owns the cat - and the garter. Then he discovers that the name of a woman and a town are engraved on the silver clasp. Both names are known to him. The woman is one he has lost. And then he learns where the cat comes from.
The Street of the First Shell: Lively but bewildering, almost incoherent, story set in Paris 1870. While the city is under siege from a German bombardment, the city is populated by as many American allies as French, street urchins sell rats for food, artists smash their sculptures for firewood, and romance as always is in the air along with the smell of smoke and cordite. Jack Trent is an American painter in love with Sylvia; his friend, the sculptor West, is about to marry the orphaned Colette. Trent volunteers to fight. Presumably this is all intended to be happening in some alternative universe, but it reads simply as a war story.
The Street of Our Lady of the Fields: Hastings is a young American art student newly arrived in Paris. On his first day there he sees the charming Valentine. A young American woman at his pension advises him that whenever she feels homesick, she goes to sit in the Luxembourg Gardens; so he does, too. In these gardens, he meets Foxhall Clifford, another art student, and is properly introduced to Valentine. Taken under Clifford's wing, he is accepted by the artistic fraternity; Clifford, in turn, is charmed and puzzled by Hastings' innocence. So is Valentine, who continues to meet him in the Luxembourg Gardens, under a statue of Love. A love story beautifully told.
Rue Barree: Rue Barree is a beautiful young woman who takes her name from the street where she lives, which is in a constant state of upheaval and barred to traffic due to roadworks. Apart from this, not much is known about her, apart from the certainty that she is both pure and poor, and that she can cause any art student too forward such great embarrassment that he would wish the earth to open up and swallow him. Foxhall Clifford plays a similar role in this story as the previous one, this time taking a young student named Selby under his wing. Selby falls in love with Rue Barree, but unfortunately so does Clifford. The story is frankly too similar to the previous one, and has the feel of being shoved in to help pad out the book; the ending of this one is disappointing, dissatisfyingly ambiguous.
Demonik: I'm almost certain I gave up after The Prophet's Paradise because your comments gave me a shudder of recognition.
Just dug out The Third Eye, a weird lost race story, and, like The Harbor-Master more fantasy than horror I'd have said. Most of it takes place aboard a boat in the Atlantic heading toward the Black Bayou and it combines the gory slaughter of birds by the amphibious Grue with humorous romantic interest provided by the the narrator, Prof. Kemper and "pretty waitress" Evelyn. it's obvious from the first that Grue is a member of the lost people the trio are searching for but somehow they don't realise (I would have thought the third eye in the back of his head was something of a giveaway myself).
I'll have to re-read The Tree of Heaven as I haven't read it since the 70s and my memory is hopeless. I do recall, however, all the stories are fantasy and almost up to the standard of The King In Yellow. I see TKIY, btw, as a wholly great masterpiece which resonates fantasy and horror even through the 50 of the 50/50 that is not overtly such.
Acindetaly made a topic about it before seeing this.Anyway,theres a story that is almost frogoten theese days which equals nighly his The King in yellow stories-and that is "The Maker of moons",readable on the ausie gutenberg edition of the book-but no worries,published in 1896.
Anyway,The Carpet of Belshazar too is uterly wonderfull.
However,Chambers also filled his works with the most dreary sort o tosh shop girl romance.The eggs of the silver moon is a great example of the uninteresting drivel he could write at times-to save you time,its about a couple o profesors hatching bug egs,one o them having a pseudo romantic involvement wiot a female former private detective and ends with a seeming murder o one o the profesors by another to be simply a story of how he punched him and he hisd himself under a sofa and ends with the detctive kissing with someone else then the narrator and the original suaver.Yeah.,reading almost ANYTHIGN is more worthwile.
Also,while in The Tree of Heaven,avoid The Golden Pool.