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The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

The King in Yellow (1895)

by Robert W. Chambers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,0443512,216 (3.59)4 / 110

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English (31)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
The four central Jauniste stories seem relatively simple upon finishing, but on second look (third...) each reveals cross-references to other(s); knowing nods to offstage characters or events; more side characters than are recalled upon finishing the first time. In short: misleadingly simple. A surprising level of detail can be uncovered on re-reads, from facts & names "hidden in plain sight", to plot tangents, suggestive character memories, or confessions.

The title figure is similarly enigmatic. Playtext or personage, the King in Yellow never receives extended description or clear definition, yet what little is revealed seems to exert a gravitational pull. That pull is to be observed first operating on characters, which kindles curiosity and then allows a metatextual force to begin working on the reader.

What of those twin suns and many moons? How could they rise in front of the towers of Carcosa? Are the Phantom of Truth and the Pallid Mask one and the same? Do the stars truly shine black? So many questions, so little in the way of answers.

That such oblique storytelling could be so compelling is perhaps counterintuitive. Yet I keep reading.


My Pushkin Press edition includes only the central four "King in Yellow" stories, inexplicably omitting the six "Other Stories" included in most editions, as well as the indispensable epigraph, "Cassilda's Song". At minimum two omitted stories make reference to the Yellow Mythos, however glancingly:

● THE DEMOISELLE D'YS: Jeanne D'ys is a cryptic pun, and one of her falconers is named Hastur
● THE PROPHETS' PARADISE mentions a Phantom, a white mask, a song & seeking "her" ( )
2 vote elenchus | Jun 4, 2019 |
The first four stories (The Repairer of Reputations, The Mask, In the Court of the Dragon, The Yellow Sign) of this book are great horror pieces. I can see where Lovecraft gets inspiration from Chambers. The rest are not quite of the same nature and thusly, I did not enjoy them as much. ( )
  trile1000 | Jul 1, 2018 |
This collection of short stories is a fascinating one.

I would venture to say that most of those reading this book are doing so for the Lovecraftian mythos - if that is the case for you, these are the stories you need to read:

The remaining stories are primarily war stories and love stories and not deeply connected to the mythos. Those are the primary reason the book lacks a full star rating for my review, as they're a bit boring when it's the Lovecraftian bit that one is after. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
An erratic collection published in 1885, ranging from "flavor of life" pieces about contemporary art students in France to war and romance to the truly weird. They also range from the mediocre, to the effective, to the masterful, but never descend to the truly bad. Worth reading even without the acknowledged place of Chanbers as someone who influenced later authors of horror. "The Repairer of Reputations" is an exceptional story.
Also contains an Introduction by S.T. Joshi, some sparse endnotes, and some reprints of critics on Chamber's work, including contemporary reviews and an excerpt from Lovecraft's "Supernatural Horror in Literature". ( )
  amandrake | Jun 13, 2018 |
This book is chiefly known for its opening quartet of stories of eldritch horrors and macabre dystopias. Some works contain only those four, which may well satisfy the majority of readers who (like myself) are drawn to it due to the thread it weaves through the works of others, most famously H.P. Lovecraft. However that does the author a disservice. Chambers collected these stories together and intended them to be read as a complete work.

Doing that, you appreciate the arc he takes from the futurist dystopia of The Repairer of Reputations, with its claustrophobic feeling of paranoia, through the subsequent alchemical and supernatural tales, onto the fifth story, a folkloric fairytale, a short set of Gibran-like (though simultaneously unlike) prose poems, and so gradually into the historical world of everyday reality, with its wars and romance, comedy and pathos. An expert writer who deserves recognition for more than horror. ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Jun 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert W. Chambersprimary authorall editionscalculated
De Cuir, GabrielleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turetsky, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The King in Yellow
is dedicated to my brother
First words
"Ne raillons pas les fous; leur folie dure plus longtemps que la nôtre.... Voila toute la différence."

(Do not mock the mad; their madness lasts longer than ours .... That is the only difference.)
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Book description
Fictional work created by Robert W. Chambers set in the Cthulhu Mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441444822, Mass Market Paperback)

Toward the end of the year 1920 the Government of the United States had practically completed the programme, adopted during the last months of President Winthrop’s administration.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Al empezar El jilguero, entramos en una habitacin de hotel en Amsterdam. Theo Decker lleva ms de una semana encerrado entre estas cuatro paredes, fumando sin parar, bebiendo vodka y masticando miedo. Es un hombre joven, pero su historia es larga y ni l sabe bien por qu ha llegado hasta aqu.A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld… (more)

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