Tartarus Press


The hardback limited edition is now out of print.


Haunted by Books is a paperback of 296 pages


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Ebook: £7.99

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Haunted by Books


Mark Valentine


In Haunted by Books Mark Valentine explores the more curious byways of literature. He presents the author who was always being told he had nearly written a masterpiece, and the genius of the short story who brewed his own cider and lived in a railway carriage.


Then there’s the figure of the 1890s, praised by Max Beerbohm, who liked to wander around London wearing horns and chewing railings, and the young man in the 1930s who tried to sell his poetry door to door.


There are also new angles on key figures: the strange case of Robert Aickman, sailor and philosopher; the book that Sax Rohmer really wanted to write; the enigma of Walter de la Mare’s ‘Seaton’s Aunt’.


And there are literary mysteries; what was the MS in a Red Box? Who wrote Shakespeare’s Gunpowder Plot? What became of Dr Ludovicus? Other essays celebrate neglected writers worth discovering, such as Mary Butts, Claude Houghton, and Vernon Knowles, or offer fresh perspectives, looking at Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s fantasies, Malcolm Lowry’s reading in occult fiction. There are even studies of books that were never written.


Haunted by Books will delight all readers and book collectors who like to leave the beaten path and wander in the wild woods, forgotten lanes and lonely houses of literature.




Studies of Sad Beauty: Robert Aickman, Philip Steegman & Arthington Worsley

A Dandysme of the Soul: Michael Arlen

Inner Bohemia: The Mystical Fiction of Mary Butts

With Whisperings and Mumblings: Walter de la Mare’s ‘Seaton’s Aunt’

The Stranger Who Opens the Door: The Novels of Claude Houghton

Goodbye, Mr Fothergill: James Hilton’s Knight Without Armour

‘A Demon in Reverse’: Cosnahan’s Magical Influences

Under This Strange Grey Sky: The Fantasies of Vernon Knowles

The Writer in the Railway Carriage: H.A. Manhood

And I’d Be The King of China: The Strange Life of Charles Welsh Mason

Masks in Flanders: Major Morris’ Lost Classic

Offerings to Mercury

Viper in the Temple: The Novels of L.H. Myers

Lost Radiance: The Fiction of Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Jerusalem in England: A Note on the Work of L. Furze Morrish

‘I Walk Through the World’: The Writings of Geoffrey Pollett

Mr Shakespeare’s Gunpowder Plot

The MS in a Red Box

The Mysteries of the Pomegranate: Sax Rohmer’s The Orchard of Tears

Possible Masterpieces: The Novels of J.C. Snaith

The Ultimate Oddness: A Book of Whimsies

Secret Names: The Hermetic Fiction of Peter Vansittart

‘Or Opaline Algol’: A Lost Edwardian Poet

A Small Place of Worship: The Last of the Johnsonians

What Became of Dr Ludovicus: Ernest Dowson & Arthur Moore’s Lost Shocker

Wraiths: Some Lost Poets of the 1890s

The Piccadilly Goat

Reviews of Unwritten Books




"The four collections of essays by Mark Valentine published by Tartarus Press in Yorkshire contain some of the best writing on books of the last twenty years. It is unsurprising that his name is not cited alongside Basbanes, Dirda or Gekoski, for Valentine’s chosen subject is, more often than not, the rediscovery of a neglected author or lighting a candle at the shrine of an author who had no wide audience in life." Peter Cooper, The Book Collector, Summer 2022



Paperbacks and ebooks available by Mark Valentine

The Peacock Escritoire with At Dusk

Sphinxes and Obelisks (essays)

A Wild Tumultory Library (essays)

Haunted by Books (essays)

A Country Still All Mystery (essays)

The Fig Garden and Other Stories (short stories)

The Nightfarers (short stories)

The Herald of the Hidden (short stories)

Secret Europe (short stories, with John Howard)

Inner Europe (short stories with John Howard)The Collected Connoisseur (short stories, with John Howard)

The Collected Connoisseur (short stories, with John Howard)


See also:

Phantom Cities by The Sodality of the Shadows



An interview with Mark Valentine


Copyright Tartarus Press 2024