Robert W. Chamber's second novel
was another compilation of tales. But unlike "In the Quarter," the majority
of these stories were horror tales interwoven with references to a fantasical
play in printed form called "The King in Yellow" which was so horrific
that anyone who read it would be driven mad. Makes you wonder how it ever
got performed except in madhouses.
Below are the first four US editions
of the book which was originally published in 1895. There is some contention
as to whether the green edition with the "lizard" or the green edition
with the "yellow sign" were the true first edition. For more on this, see
Edition Controversy. Regardless, they are both considered from
the Neely's Prismatic Series and published before the turn of the century
(letter #3 reveals an autographed
copy from August, 1895).
The French Rondel edition (a
circle of red, white, and blue) is believed to have been published
around the turn of the century and has a matching edition of "In
the Quarter" with the image. For a recent revelation that
the French Rondel cover was most likely published in or before July
of 1899, check out this link.
Later editions include a fourth Neely version (there are claims that
this is a 1897 edition) seen below with the image of the king with
wings. The white background image is the American paperback
edition. The more complex image of the King in Yellow (below
right) is the UK edition. Because the winged man paperback edition
refers to "In the Quarter" and not his successful 1898 novels
"Lorraine" and "Ashes of Empire" it is very possible
the winged man editions were pre-1900.........
It is beleived that F. Tennysons
Neely's publishing house went Bankrupt around 1903. The
ornate brown with gilt lettering cover is a F. Tennyson Neely edition
of unknown date. The yellow cloth
edition is from Harpers dated 1902. The memorial edition, published
shortly after Chambers's death in 1933 has a forward by Chambers's
friend: author Rupert Hughes. Below right is "The Mask," a 1929
edition of R.W. Chambers short stories which included selections
from "The King in Yellow."