Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our 20th Century Classics List!

Here it is -- after about 2 months of work, scouring the length and breadth of the 20th century to find some of the best out-of-print books and working with agents and estates to secure permissions, we are able to announce the following titles as forthcoming.  Over the next few weeks and months, we'll be blogging about each author and title on the list, so keep an eye out.  In addition to the titles listed, we are presently attempting to get the rights to publish works by Beverley Nichols, Thomas Hinde, David Footman, Russell Thorndike, and others, so check back often for updates:

R. C. Ashby (Ruby Ferguson)
He Arrived at Dusk (1933), introduction by Mark Valentine

Frank Baker
The Birds (1936), introduction by Ken Mogg

Walter Baxter
Look Down in Mercy (1951)

Charles Beaumont
The Hunger and other Stories (1957), introduction by Prof. Bernice Murphy

David Benedictus
The Fourth of June (1962), introduction by the author

Paul Binding
Harmonica's Bridegroom (1984), introduction by the author

John Blackburn
A Scent of New-Mown Hay (1958), introduction by Prof. Darren Harris-Fain
Broken Boy (1959), introduction by Prof. Greg Gbur
Blue Octavo (1963)
Nothing But the Night (1968)
Bury Him Darkly (1969), introduction by Prof. Greg Gbur
The Household Traitors (1971)
Our Lady of Pain (1973)
A Beastly Business (1983), introduction by John Pelan

Thomas Blackburn
The Feast of the Wolf  (1971), introduction by Julia Blackburn

John Braine
Room at the Top (1957), introduction by Prof. Janine Utell
The Vodi (1959)

Basil Copper
The Great White Space (1974)
Necropolis (1980)

Ronald Fraser
Flower Phantoms (1926), introduction by Mark Valentine

Stephen Gilbert
The Burnaby Experiments (1952), introduction by Patricia Craig

Claude Houghton
I Am Jonathan Scrivener (1930), introduction by Michael Dirda
This Was Ivor Trent (1935), introduction by Mark Valentine

Gerald Kersh
Nightshade and Damnations (1968), introduction by Harlan Ellison

Francis King
To the Dark Tower (1946)
Never Again (1947), introduction by Robert Khan
An Air that Kills (1948), introduction by the author
The Dividing Stream (1951), introduction by Paul Binding
The Dark Glasses (1954), introduction by Jonathan Fryer
The Man on the Rock (1957)

C.H.B. Kitchin
Ten Pollitt Place (1957), introduction by Prof. Simon Stern
The Book of Life (1960), introduction by Francis King

Hilda Lewis
The Witch and the Priest (1956), introduction by Alison Weir

Kenneth Martin
Aubade (1957), introduction by the author
Waiting for the Sky to Fall (1959), introduction by the author

Michael McDowell
The Amulet (1979), introduction by Poppy Z Brite

Michael Nelson
Knock or Ring (1957)
A Room in Chelsea Square (1958)

Oliver Onions
The Hand of Kornelius Voyt (1939), introduction by Mark Valentine

Dennis Parry
Sea of Glass (1955), introduction by Simon Stern

Robert Phelps
Heroes and Orators (1958), introduction by Michael Dirda

J.B. Priestley
Benighted (1927), introduction by Orrin Grey
The Other Place (1953), introduction by Prof. John Baxendale

Forrest Reid
At the Door of the Gate (1915), introduction by Andrew Doyle
The Spring Song (1916), introduction by Mark Valentine

John Wain
Hurry on Down (1953), introduction by Prof. Nick Bentley
The Smaller Sky (1967), introduction by Prof Alice Ferrebe

Hugh Walpole
The Killer and the Slain (1942)

Keith Waterhouse
There is a Happy Land (1957)
Billy Liar (1959), introduction by Prof. Nick Bentley

Alec Waugh
The Loom of Youth (1917), introduction by Simon Stern

Colin Wilson
Ritual in the Dark (1960), foreword by the author, introduction by Colin Stanley
Man Without a Shadow (1962), introduction by Colin Stanley
The World of Violence (1963), introduction by Nicolas Tredell
The Philosopher's Stone (1969), introduction by Colin Stanley
The God of the Labyrinth (1970), introduction by Gary Lachman

P.G. Wodehouse
Psmith in the City (1910), introduction by Prof. Douglas Kerr

The first two titles in the series, Stephen Gilbert's The Burnaby Experiments and John Trevena's Sleeping Waters, are now available, and the rest will be published throughout 2013.  Don't miss out on any of these great titles!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Minerva Press

The Minerva Press Gothic titles are among our most popular Gothic offerings, so to make them easier to find, we've them all on one page.  Here's a bit of info about the Minerva Press:

Minerva Press

William Lane, a London printer and publisher, began publishing under his own name in the 1780s, but around 1790 his books began to carry the imprint of the “Minerva Press,” a somewhat ironic name, since Minerva was the Greek goddess of wisdom, and the Minerva Press was routinely decried by literary critics for the lowbrow literature it published. Although most publishers today have branded their presses (think Penguin, for example), creating the Minerva brand for his titles was a clever and innovative marketing move for its time, as was Lane’s formation of a circulating library, where he could lend out his books on subscription to those who couldn’t afford to pay for them outright.
Between 1790 and 1820, Minerva was by far the largest publisher of fiction, publishing mostly Gothic fiction, but also other types of novels, some nonfiction, and reissues of classic 18th century literature. The Minerva Press was taken over by Lane’s business partner, Anthony King Newman, who dropped the “Minerva” brand name in the 1820s. Minerva published some of the best of classic Gothic fiction, including most of the works of Francis Lathom, Regina Maria Roche, Eleanor Sleath, Isabella Kelly, and many others.

For a complete list of our Minerva titles, click here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unveiling our new 20th century classics series

We've been very busy over the past month or so putting together an amazing collection of 20th century fiction to complement our extensive catalogue of 18th and 19th century literature.  This new series will focus on the types of books you've come to expect from Valancourt Books: Gothic & horror, gay interest, and neglected and forgotten classics.  All volumes will be newly typeset from the first editions and will feature new introductions by scholars, critics, or writers.  Although we're still in the process of negotiating with some estates (or trying to track down heirs, in some cases), we can confirm the following titles:

Heroes and Orators (1958)
by Robert Phelps
Introduction by Michael Dirda

Robert Phelps (1922-1988) is perhaps best remembered as a prolific book reviewer and as the translator and editor of Jean Cocteau and Colette and the founder of Grove Press.  In 1958, he published his only novel, Heroes and Orators, which has never been reprinted.

In his landmark book, Love and Death in the American Novel (1960), critic Leslie Fiedler called Phelps "a serious new writer" and Heroes and Orators "a complex and troubling study of homosexuality." But despite positive reviews, Phelps never published another work of fiction.

This new edition will include an introduction by Michael Dirda, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book reviewer for the Washington Post.  He has previously introduced Memorable Days: The Selected Letters of James Salter and Robert Phelps (2010), and his numerous writings include Classics for Pleasure and On Conan Doyle, which won the 2012 Edgar Award.

The Witch and the Priest (1956)
by Hilda Lewis
Introduction by Alison Weir

Hilda Lewis (1896-1974) was a prolific novelist, particularly of historical fiction, and is also remembered for her children's classic The Ship that Flew, still in print with Oxford University Press. The Witch and the Priest is a carefully researched and compellingly readable novel set in the early 17th century and based on a real witchcraft trial.  In Lewis's novel, Reverend Samuel Fleming is haunted by the memory of the part he played in the death of Joan Flower, a woman he helped condemn as a witch.  Was she really guilty?  He may find out more than he wanted to know when her spirit reappears to him, having been shut out of both Heaven and Hell, to recount to him the story of her rejection of God and her pact with the Devil.  As the publisher's blurb of the original edition said, "Here is a truly brilliant recreation of a time when 'midnight hags set the ministers of hell to work'."

Alison Weir is a best-selling English historian and historical novelist whose books have sold more than 2.3 million copies worldwide and whose historical works have met with widespread critical and popular acclaim.

Hurry on Down (1953)
by John Wain
Introduction by Nick Bentley

The back cover copy of a Penguin edition of this novel describes it as follows:

The book that was the pioneer of the new kind of English novel which appeared in the fifties, linking the names of John Wain, Kingsley Amis, Iris Murdoch, and later John Braine.

'Hurry on Down, a young man's first novel, is a bustling kaleidoscope of a book, by an author fertile in expedient, keenly observant and occasionally probing the heart of darkiness' -- Sunday Times.

This 60th anniversary edition will include a new introduction by Nick Bentley, professor of English at Keele University and author of Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh UP, 2008).  Valancourt will also be publishing Wain's The Smaller Sky (1967).

The Dark Glasses (1954)
by Francis King
Introduction by Jonathan Fryer

"No one writes better prose than Francis King and few create more subtle characters. He is a grown-up writer for grown-ups." - Ruth Rendell

"He deserves the widest possible readership." - Melvyn Bragg, Punch

When Valancourt was working with Francis King (1923-2011) to bring out a new edition of his An Air that Kills (1948) in 2008, he said that this little-known novel was one of his favorites among his own works and one he'd most like to see reprinted.  The novel appeared in 1954 following King's biggest success to date, The Dividing Stream (1951), which won the Somerset Maugham Award.  

The Dark Glasses is the story of Patrick Orde and his wife Iris, who travel to Corfu to take possession of a family estate Iris has inherited.  Their marriage is comfortable but passionless. Christo, a laborer on the estate, reawakens long-dormant feelings in Iris, who had been ardently in love with him many years earlier. And meanwhile, as Patrick and Iris grow slowly more distant, Patrick finds himself attracted by Soula, a peasant girl.  But Stavro, Soula's nineteen-year-old brother watches her affair with Patrick carefully.  But is angry because Patrick is involved with his sister, or because he has feelings of his own for Patrick?  These twisted relationships lead inevitably to conflict and tragedy and ultimately a violent denouement.

This edition will include a new introduction by Jonathan Fryer, a friend of Francis King's, and an author of numerous books, including books on André Gide, Oscar Wilde, and Christopher Isherwood.

The Hand of Kornelius Voyt (1939)
by Oliver Onions
Introduction by Mark Valentine

“A disturbing study of spiritual domination .... subtle and terrifying.” Daily Telegraph.

“A striking contribution to the literature of darkness.” — Humbert Wolfe.

Best known for his ghost stories, like the famous "The Beckoning Fair One," Oliver Onions (1873-1961) was also a talented and prolific novelist, winning the James Tait Black Prize with his 1946 novel Poor Man's Tapestry.  The Hand of Kornelius Voyt, published in 1939 and never reprinted, is the story of young Peter, who after the death of his parents is sent to live at the Victorian Gothic mansion of Dr Kornelius Voyt, a reclusive and wealthy German living in England.  It turns out that Voyt can neither speak nor hear, but he has learned to compensate by apparently communicating telepathically and learning to control others with the force of his will alone.  Young Peter begins studying with his tutor, Heinrich, but it soon becomes clear that the real lessons he is intended to learn are those that will be taught by the mysterious Voyt.  What are his inscrutable and terrible ends?

This new edition includes an introduction by Mark Valentine, author, biographer, editor of the journal Wormwood, and editor of volumes for Valancourt, Tartarus, and Wordsworth.

We will have many more exciting new title announcements coming soon, so please check back!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

John Blackburn (1923-1993)

I get the distinct feeling that John Blackburn, whose name I first discovered the other day, is going to join Francis Lathom, Richard Marsh, and others as one of my reclamation projects.  Blackburn is evidence that you don't need to go back 100 or 200 years to find an example of an unfortunately forgotten novelist.  Indeed, although he was still publishing even in my lifetime, I'd never heard of him, and many of his books command several hundred dollars on the secondhand market.

Blackburn seems to be a writer that publishers had some difficulty classifying.  His books are thrilling, mysterious, and horrifying, but they're not exactly "thrillers," "mysteries," or "horror"; rather, they're a combination of the three. Blackburn himself was well-educated and an antiquarian bookseller and thus very literate.  What's interesting about Blackburn's books, though, is that unlike most mysteries, thrillers, and horror novels of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, which are only remembered if they were adapted for films and otherwise have been discarded as semi-literate trash, his books are highly intelligent.  

I was lucky enough to find a couple of his books at the Kansas City public library.  On the back jacket flap of Blow the House Down (1970) appear the following quotes (check out his book titles!) -- and note how he even gets rave reviews from the highbrow Times Literary Supplement:

'He is bang on curdling form with this tale of a sealed tomb in a cathedral city and the Destroyer  that lurks. Not for the timid.' -- Evening Standard.

'A real creepy-crawly... Recommended to those who like their thrills chilled.' -- Evening Standard
'Absurdly enjoyable.' -- Times Literary Supplement

'John Blackburn is today's master of horror, and this latest novel about a village gripped by the culmination of ancient vileness, induces proper shivers.' -- Times Literary Supplement

I tracked down Bury Him Darkly (1968) on eBay for 99 cents and requested some of the others through interlibrary loan, including Our Lady of Pain (1974), a vampire novel about Countess Elizabeth Bathory, dedicated to actor Christopher Lee and suggested by him to Blackburn.

What do you think?  Does he sound great or what?

Happy Halloween!

We hope everyone has a merry, scary Halloween!  

A word or two on what we're working on at the moment: Although we continue to love fiction of the Romantic and Victorian periods and will keep on releasing our editions of lost Gothic, penny dreadful, and sensation fiction of long ago, we're presently working hard to build up our 20th century list as well.

Two new 20th century titles, John Trevena's Sleeping Waters (1913) and Stephen Gilbert's The Burnaby Experiments (1952) will be published very shortly.  We are in negotiations with the estates of numerous 20th century authors, some whose names you've never heard and some you will certainly recognize, to bring into print a number of lost classics.  We hope to be able to announce some of these soon, although for the moment we can disclose that we'll be bringing out in the U.S. new editions of Francis King's Never Again (1947) and The Dark Glasses (1954), two of King's own favorites from among his novels, and which he and I discussed reissuing while we were working on our 2008 edition of his An Air that Kills.  Expect to see both of these in 2013.  We've also secured permission to reissue Hugh Walpole's posthumous 'macabre' novel, The Killer and the Slain (1942).  Walpole, a distant cousin of Horace Walpole, was a hugely popular and prolific novelist whose reputation has declined immeasurably since his death in 1941.  He wrote many different types of novels, but particularly enjoyed what he called 'macabre' novels, like The Killer and the Slain, which was dedicated to Henry James and inspired in part by his The Turn of the Screw.

Follow us here and on Twitter and Facebook for more announcements soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stephen Gilbert's The Burnaby Experiments (1952)

Forrest Reid (1875-1947) is a writer who I've long found fascinating.  In a lot of ways, he's similar to John Trevena, the subject of my previous blog post.  Both wrote in relative isolation from the London literary scene -- Reid in Belfast, Trevena in Dartmoor -- and neither really belonged to any recognizable contemporary literary movement.  Both had their admirers, and both enjoyed widespread critical success, but neither ever made it big commercially, and both fell into total obscurity after their deaths.  Reid won the James Tait Black prize and counted among his friends and admirers such notables as Walter de la Mare and E.M. Forster.  We might have added Henry James to this list, but after his horror at finding Reid's The Garden God dedicated to him, he never spoke to Reid again; who knows if he still read his books.

It's already been written about often enough elsewhere not to need repeating here, but whether merely platonic or whether something more, Reid was fascinated by boys and boyhood, and nearly all his works deal with that topic.  Like J. M. Barrie, Reid had some of his most important friendships with young people, and in Reid's case, perhaps the most significant was Stephen Gilbert.  Reid and Gilbert met in 1931, when Reid would have been about 56 and Gilbert about 19; Reid acted as Gilbert's mentor and ended up idealizing their relationship in Brian Westby (1934), which Gilbert apparently wasn't entirely comfortable with.  In The Burnaby Experiments (1952), Gilbert turns the tables, telling the story of their relationship from his point of view, and casting Reid as the fussy, parasitic, and ultimately sinister Mr. Burnaby.  

I won't talk about the book's plot so as not to spoil any surprises -- suffice it to say that the book is impossible to put down.  What I found interesting, though, as we put this 60th anniversary edition together, is how quickly and how utterly the book has become obscure.  Valancourt Books is probably best known for our editions of rare old Gothic novels. The Forest of Valancourt (1813), for example, is 200 years old, and is known to survive in only one copy worldwide, at the Bodleian Library.  And yet, it's not all that hard to get: it's as simple as emailing your credit card information to the Bodleian and paying them $200 or so to photocopy and mail it to you.  

Try getting a copy of The Burnaby Experiments.  We've seen one copy come up for sale in the past five years; it sold the same day it was listed.  It was never published in America, and Worldcat finds only 13 libraries in all of the U.S. that hold copies -- oh, and try getting one of them to lend it to you (they won't copy it for you, of course, since it's in copyright).  Even worse, try finding out anything about the book.  Because things published in 1952 are still in copyright, you won't find any reviews in any electronic databases or anywhere else, and there is scant information online.  (And the few books that might have catalogued those original book reviews have probably been long discarded from your library as presumed useless.)

Stephen Gilbert died in 2010; under current copyright law, The Burnaby Experiments will be under copyright until the end of 2080.  In the rush to get rid of books and add more computers and online resources, one wonders how many of these rare novels of the 1940s-1960s -- not old enough to have been scanned into Google Books nor new enough to proliferate in mass market paperback copies -- will vanish by 2080.  Perhaps unexpectedly, it won't be the 18th or 19th centuries that in future may end up as Dark Ages of British popular fiction, but the mid-twentieth.  The Burnaby Experiments is the latest of a few copyright 20th century novels we've uncovered and brought back, and we hope to rediscover others.  Let us know what you think of Burnaby -- if it's successful, we'd like to look into reprinting Gilbert's Ratman's Notebooks (1968), a wonderful, weird horror novel twice filmed as Willard (1971; 2003).

Friday, October 19, 2012

More on John Trevena

The more work we do on our 100th anniversary edition of John Trevena's Sleeping Waters, the clearer it's becoming what an important rediscovery we've made.  Here are some more comments from 20th century reviewers, dug up by Prof. Gerald Monsman:

"Russia has produced the most powerful novelists. Beside Turgenief and Dostoievsky we know of no American and but one Englishman who is fairly entitled to a place. John Trevena alone writes with the force, the dynamic power of the brooding, Slavic titans. However, there is much else than mere power in a great novel; the gift for tragedy does not solely make for greatness, and Trevena has more than power. . . . There is a touch of mysticism in Mr. Trevena's books . . . . This quailty, combined with his always incisive and sometimes relentless force, and thorough workmanship, enables him to produce novels that are, we believe, to have an honored and permanent classification in literature." -- Los Angeles Times, review of Wintering Hay (1912), Dec. 6, 1914

"The story is magnificently told. . . . The vividness and monstrosity of the characters remind one of the Brontes." -- Chicago Tribune, review of Sleeping Waters, Jan. 23, 1915

How about a contest?  Can you think of any English writer of any time period who was as prolific and as acclaimed by the critics as John Trevena, but who has fallen into total obscurity, with not one book in print (before the Valancourt editions, of course)?  We can't.....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tons of exciting new titles

We can't force you to follow us on Twitter.  But it is probably the best way to keep up on exciting announcements and news, so you might give it a shot.  If you haven't been following us, you've missed all these exciting new titles we've recently announced....

Our 1200-page penny dreadful The Mysteries of London has met with a huge response, so we're going to tackle another infamous penny dreadful, The Wild Boys of London, or, The Children of Night (1866).  This serial ran in 1866, and only one complete copy survives, in the British Library.  In the 1870s, publication of a reprint was attempted, but it was deemed obscene and seized by the police before the book could be finished.  It's never been reprinted since.

Thomas Ruys Smith will edit William Harrison Ainsworth's Gothic triple decker Rookwood (1834), now quite scarce in its original edition.  Andrew Maunder, who previously did a great job with our edition of The Fate of Fenella in 2008, will prepare a scholarly edition of Florence Marryat's classic of Spiritualism, There Is No Death (1891).  If you liked Marryat's The Blood of the Vampire, or if you have even a passing interest in spiritualism, the occult, and the mysteries of death and the afterlife, you'll want to check this out.  It's a fascinating read, and was hugely popular in the 1890s and beyond.

A couple others -- Melissa Purdue, who edited Fugitive Anne for us is back to edit Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan and The Inmost Light (1894), which will include those two works and other stories, and will feature a critical introduction and notes.  Laurence Talairach-Vielmas, editor of Braddon's Thou Art the Man in 2008 will edit Braddon's late novel Dead Love has Chains (1907).

Check out our Forthcoming page for an ever growing list of new titles, and don't forget to check us out on Twitter (@Valancourt_B) and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

John Trevena's Sleeping Waters (1913)

It's a question that arises often in the course of republishing neglected old books. How does a text or author go from the heights of popularity to the realm of utter neglect and obscurity? Sometimes it's not hard to see why a particular work falls out of favor because of changing times and fashions, but sometimes an author's fall is so meteoric and so inexplicable as to be utterly baffling.

Take John Trevena (aka Ernest George Henham, 1870-1946), for example.  We're working on a 100th anniversary edition of his Sleeping Waters (1913), to be released in February 2013.  Trevena, of course, was a British novelist, writing primarily on regional subjects pertaining to Dartmoor.  But check out what two of America's major papers had to say about Sleeping Waters on its release in America in late 1914/early 1915:

“It would be difficult to find a novel more unusual or more original. That it is beautifully written, full of poetic passages, and contains many fascinating descriptions [...] will be regarded as a matter of course by those who have read any of [his] preceding books, and therefore know that John Trevena is unquestionably one of the most notable of living writers.” — New York Times, Jan. 10, 1915

“The construction of the book is very artistic and is difficult to accomplish, but apart from its structural merits ‘Sleeping Waters’ has high value. [...] Our admiration for this author has been expressed over and over again. There is grasp and reach and power in [his] books [...] and they are books that place their author among the foremost of the English novelists.” — Los Angeles Times, Feb. 21, 1915

"Unquestionably one of the most notable of living writers," "among the foremost of the English novelists". Big compliments.  And yet Sleeping Waters was never republished, and you will look in vain online for a secondhand copy at any price.  How did John Trevena end up in the dustbin of literary history?  And can our new edition help dig him out of it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Major new releases!

Our much anticipated werewolf anthology, Terrifying Transformations, featuring 15 werewolf stories written between 1838 and 1896, along with an appendix containing nonfiction Victorian writings on werewolves, together with an introduction, footnotes, and tons of illustrations, is now available, and it's a tremendous value, with nearly 400 pages of Victorian werewolves for only $14.99!  We'll have the link up this evening to order it.

We've finished correcting the proofs for The Mysteries of London and should have that book available for order next week.  How amazing is it?  Let's just say that if you buy a copy, you'll need to clear your schedule for a couple weeks of things like work and sleep, because you won't want to put the book down.

If you haven't checked out our new releases, Tenebrae and The Stranger Knight, don't miss them!  We've been getting really good feedback from people regarding Tenebrae especially.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A new frontier...

Valancourt Books has always focused on British works to the exclusion of American ones, partly because of the longstanding horror of American works inculcated in me by high school and college reading lists filled with the likes of "Thanatopsis," The Red Badge of Courage, Moby-Dick, and the works of Faulkner and Toni Morrison.  But it turns out that if you dig a little bit beneath the surface, there are some great American works awaiting rediscovery.  

We'll inaugurate our new collection of American works with editions of two by George Lippard (1822-1854), close friend of Edgar Allan Poe and author of novels of the Gothic and penny dreadful variety.  Dr. Jonas Prida will edit Lippard's Empire City (1850) and its sequel New York (1853), two works dealing with the Gothic and sensational side of life in mid-19th century New York.  

We're actively looking for other forgotten works of American popular fiction deserving new editions and are seeking proposals, so please contact us if you are a scholar in this area.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Exciting times here at Valancourt!  Following a successful trip to Madison, Wis. for the North American Victorian Studies Ass'n conference, where we debuted proof copies of The Mysteries of London and Terrifying Transformations, our werewolf anthology, to great interest, we've had a flood of wonderful proposals come in this week for editions of works by James Malcolm Rymer, Jules Verne, Wilkie Collins, and several others.  So expect to see a continual stream of great new releases from us throughout the rest of the year and on into 2013.

And if you haven't already, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up on all our newest releases and happenings!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October!

October is our favourite month of the year, and we've got some great stuff coming out this month to help make yours fun and scary as well.

This week, look for the second installment in our free serialization of The Banditti of the Forest, or, The Mysterious Dagger (1811-12), as well as links to order our new offerings: our Halloween special, George Soane's The Stranger Knight & The Bond of Blood (1812-14; 1815), and Ernest G. Henham's Tenebrae.  Both will be offered in paperback or Kindle.

We have the bound proof of The Mysteries of London and are poring over it to see if we missed any errors; it should be available by mid-October. We're planning to offer it in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.  Also, Terrifying Transformations, our anthology of Victorian werewolf fiction, will be headed to the printer this week and will be available for order by Halloween.

We have tons more exciting stuff on the way, so stay tuned and enjoy this wonderful Halloween season!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


At Valancourt Books, we are big fans of horror flicks as well books! There are a lot of lesser known classics that were adapted from books we carry and by authors we publish. We've put together a Movie Adaptations channel on our YouTube page for you to check out some great trailers and a few full-length films. We will continue to add to the playlist as we discover more flicks so feel free to subscribe to our channel! Also, if you find something that you think we should add, just drop us a line on our Contact page and we'll check it out.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We have a ton of new releases due out soon that we thought we'd update you about.  

Ernest George Henham's Poe-influenced 1898 tale of Gothic horror and insanity, Tenebrae, will feature a new introduction and notes by Gerald Monsman and the gorgeous cover art of the original edition.  The novel concerns the narrator and his brother, both in love with the same woman.  They live on a remote estate in a large old house with their insane uncle, driven mad by abuse of alcohol and drugs.  When the narrator discovers his brother's affair with the girl he himself loves, he brutally murders him.  After the crime, he begins to see a giant spider, haunting him.  Is it the spirit of his murdered brother, or just a hallucination?  

Most Valancourt readers are by now familiar with Richard Marsh, most famous for his tales of mystery and the supernatural, such as The Beetle (1897).  But with our new volume of The Complete Adventures of Sam Briggs (1904-15), Marsh fans will discover a new side of this fascinating writer.  The Sam Briggs stories originally appeared in Strand Magazine, where they ran alongside A. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.  The first 11 stories in the collection reveal Marsh at his comic best, as Sam, a young, lower-middle-class clerk of 19, experiences a variety of adventures and misadventures, usually in hilarious fashion.  The second 12 stories show Sam enlisting in the British Army and serving in Flanders in the First World War, and chart his improbable adventures as he rises through the ranks and eventually earns the Victoria Cross.  The volume features many of the original illustrations and a new introduction and notes by Minna Vuohelainen.

Francis Lathom's The One Pound Note and Other Tales (1820) is a collection of three long stories or novellas that capitalized on two major trends of the moment: the increasing appetite for shorter fiction as opposed to four or five-volume novels, and the incredible popularity of Sir Walter Scott's Scottish fiction.  The curious title story, "The One Pound Note," contains very obvious and very surprising gay subtexts in a tale of two young men who form an intense friendship that ends in tragedy.  "The Prophecy" is a Scottish adventure-romance story, heavily tinged with Gothic elements; a third story rounds out the volume, along with a new introduction and notes by Max Fincher.

Finally, we are hard at work on G.W.M. Reynolds's The Mysteries of London (1845), a wonderful penny dreadful that is a real page turner.  And it's a good thing, since it runs to 1,200 pages, not a single one of them dull (we promise!)  This was perhaps the bestselling novel of the mid-Victorian era, much to the chagrin of the literary establishment and rivals like Dickens; it sold 50,000 copies a week and well over a million in all, but has been out of print for over a century.  Fans of Dickens's Bleak House and the works of other mid-19th century adventure novels by authors like Dumas and Sue will not want to miss this one.

And lastly, we'll be headed to Madison, Wis. for the North American Victorian Studies Association conference later this month, so if you're there, stop by our table and say hi!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New and forthcoming titles

We're working overtime here at Valancourt Books to bring you some great new books!

Newly available is Wolfram Setz's edition of The Sins of the Cities of the Plain (1881), a very scarce book originally privately printed in two volumes and which can be found nowhere on earth besides the British Library.  A couple of other spurious reprints appeared in the 1990s, but were, in fact, completely rewritten versions of the book; ours is the first-ever republication of the original text.  It's now up for order here: for the low price of $14.99, and is also out for Kindle for only $4.99!

Ryan is hard at work typing Francis Lathom's wonderful Romance of the Hebrides, an 1809 Minerva Press Gothic that features everything Gothic lovers could want, including spectres, castles, caverns, and a hideous hag!  Prof. Carol Margaret Davison, a scholar of Scottish Gothic, will provide an introduction.  Next up will be The Children of the Abbey (1796) by Regina Maria Roche, which might be the best-selling Gothic novel of all time.  Between 1796 and 1920 it was never out of print in the U.S. or U.K. and was beloved by generations of readers.

We've received Minna Vuohelainen's edition of Richard Marsh's The Complete Sam Briggs Adventures (1904-15), which will be out this month.  It contains all 20 Sam Briggs stories, which were originally published in The Strand Magazine, the same publication that hosted Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and many others.  Dr. Vuohelainen's much-anticipated edition of Marsh's Judith Lee stories will also be out soon.

A couple other bits of news, in brief:  Starting with our next rare Gothic release, we're going to begin issuing them in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle.  We know some collectors only purchase hardcovers, while many prefer the low price of paperbacks or the convenience of Kindle, so we decided to do all three! And finally, in 2007 and 2008 we issued slim volumes with rare stories as Halloween specials, and in 2012, we're resuming the practice....and we've got a special treat in store for you, which will be available October 1.  In the meantime, check out our FREE serialization of The Banditti of the Forest, or, The Mysterious Dagger (1811-12), originally published in Ladies' Monthly Museum, here.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Greetings, all, and a belated welcome to our new website! We hope you like it.

Well, as you can see, after a long hiatus spent jousting at windmills (or practicing law; I forget), we're back from the dead and extremely busy.

The past month has seen four new titles. First, an annotated edition of Bram Stoker's The Lady of the Shroud (1909), a book surprisingly hard to find in its original unabridged form, edited with a new introduction by Prof. Sarah E. Maier, and featuring a stunning original cover by award-winning fantasy artist Jef Murray, who had previously illustrated our gorgeous deluxe edition of The Magic Ring. Also new is Charlotte Smith's The Story of Henrietta (1800), a book-length Gothic-style tale set amidst turbulent conditions in colonial Jamaica, originally published as the second volume in her five volume set of Letters of a Solitary Wanderer. Previously available only in one of those $800 Pickering & Chatto sets (yes, $800!), Henrietta is now available in our affordable scholarly edition, featuring a new introduction and notes by Janina Nordius. Finally, for all the Gothic lovers out there, we've just released newly typeset paperback copies of Henry Summersett's Mad Man of the Mountain (1799) and Grenville Fletcher's Rosalviva, or, The Demon Dwarf! (1824).

Also, we've been busily making our books available as e-books for download from We now have 82 of our 120 titles available for the Kindle and iPad, with almost all titles priced at $2.99 to $6.99. Although we'll always prefer the printed books, we had gotten a lot of requests for Kindle editions, and we recognized that the Kindle books fill an important niche for those who want the book instantly, don't have room in their collection for more printed books, or want a less-expensive alternative to the cost of some of the more pricey hardcover volumes. Each of the Kindle editions is checked by us for its compatibility with Kindle and iPad before being published, but if you find any weird glitches as you're reading, please let us know. We're still pretty new to the Kindle thing and while we're doing our best, it is possible that readers may have suggestions for improvement.

What we're working on now: First, we are trying to clear the backlog of manuscripts here that have been waiting in some cases quite a long time for publication. So by the end of the year expect to see our Victorian Werewolf Anthology, Barbara Tilley's edition of Emma Frances Brooke's A Superfluous Woman, Wolfram Setz's edition of Sins of the Cities of the Plain, and Caspar Wintermans' volume on French writer Baron Fersen. We also hope finally to see the long-awaited and long-delayed The Burnaby Experiments (1952) by Stephen Gilbert and Prof. Devoney Looser's edition of Jane West's A Gossip's Story (1796), thought to be an influence on Jane Austen.

Speaking of gossip, here's some of what's in the pipeline for down the road. Way back in 2005, we advertised Carl Grosse's Horrid Mysteries (1796) as forthcoming. Well, now it is! Ryan has nearly finished typing the four volume text, and Prof. Allen Grove, who did such an excellent job with our editions of The Witch of Ravensworth, The Italian, and The Cavern of Death, will be contributing an introduction. Horrid Mysteries will appear as the sixth volume in our collection of the Northanger 'horrid novels.' Maria Purves is at work on an edition of the very scarce Minerva Press Gothic The Monk of the Grotto (1800), set to be out next year. Jacqui Howard has contacted us about preparing editions of two other rare Minerva titles by the same anonymous author, Lusignan, or, The Abbaye of La Trappe (1801) and The Orphans of Llangloed (1802). Dr. Howard previously edited Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho for Penguin and has published an article in which she argues that Lusignan and The Orphans of Llangloed bear striking similarities to the writing of Ann Radcliffe, who mysteriously dropped out of sight and apparently stopped publishing after The Italian (1797).... or did she? Our old friend Francis Lathom makes another reappearance, with The One-Pound Note and Other Tales (1820), which will feature an introduction by Max Fincher, who previously introduced our edition of The Fatal Vow (1807). The title novella, “The One-Pound Note,” is an extremely curious text with fairly explicit gay subtexts involving the relationship between two young men, both pathetically ineffective in their relationships with women but both apparently quite happy in each other's company while holed up in a hotel room together for a couple weeks.

In the non-Gothic realm, Minna Vuohelainen, who has done excellent editions of Richard Marsh's The Beetle and The Goddess for Valancourt Books, is preparing editions of Marsh's Judith Lee and Sam Briggs stories, which should be appearing soon. We've had a ton of inquiries about Judith Lee in particular, so these should be excellent and popular volumes. Michael Matthew Kaylor, who has prepared several really wonderful scholarly editions for Valancourt Books, is working on an edition of The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus (1911) by John Stuart Hay, which those who enjoyed Prof. Kaylor's previous editions will surely welcome. Gerald Monsman, who has prepared editions by Bertram Mitford, Walter Pater, H. Rider Haggard, and John Trevena for Valancourt Books, has prepared an edition of Trevena's Sleeping Waters (1914).

More exciting updates in the next blog post. In the meantime, keep up to date with the latest Valancourt releases and news by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter!