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Robert W. Chambers's The King in Yellow -- his first published work -- is still remembered as a horror novel of real consequence. But he wrote a great deal of fiction over the succeeding decades -- horror fiction, action-adventure, even stories that'd be cinematic romances these days. This collection is horror fiction, and includes "The Carpet of Belshazzar," "The Sign of Venus," "The Case of Mr. Helmer," "The Tree of Dreams," "The Bridal Pair," "Ex Curia," "The Golden Pool," "Out of the Depths," "The Swastika," and "The Ghost of Chance."
Robert William Chambers (1865 - 1933) was an American artist and fiction writer, best known for his book of short stories entitled The King in Yellow, published in 1895. Robert was first educated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and then entered the Art Students' League at around the age of twenty, where the artist Charles Dana Gibson was his fellow student. Chambers studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at Academie Julian, in Paris from 1886 to 1893 and his work was displayed at the Salon as early as 1889. On his return to New York, he succeeded in selling his illustrations to Life, Truth, and Vogue magazines. Then, for reasons unclear, he devoted his time to writing, producing his first novel, In the Quarter (written in 1887 in Munich). His most famous, and perhaps most meritorious, effort is The King in Yellow, a collection of Art Nouveau short stories published in 1895. This included several famous weird short stories which are connected by the theme of a fictitious drama of the same title, which drives those who read it insane. E. F. Bleiler described The King in Yellow as one of the most important works of American supernatural fiction. It was also strongly admired by H. P. Lovecraft and his circle. Chambers returned to the weird genre in his later short story collections The Maker of Moons, The Mystery of Choice and The Tree of Heaven, but none earned him as much success as The King in Yellow. Some of Chambers's work contains elements of science fiction, such as In Search of the Unknown and Police!!!, about a zoologist who encounters monsters. Chambers later turned to writing romantic fiction to earn a living. According to some estimates, Chambers had one of the most successful literary careers of his period, his later novels selling well and a handful achieving best-seller status. Many of his works were also serialized in magazines.