Tartarus Press


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A Wild Tumultory Library


Mark Valentine


Read about the most dangerous man in the West; the poem written by a stuffed crocodile; the alchemist called the great-nephew to the Queen of Faerie; aesthetes, dandies, visionaries, antiquaries, fortune tellers and fakirs, forgotten writers and much more.


Mark Valentine’s third collection of essays explores the curious byways of literature and lore in a similar manner to his earlier volumes Haunted by Books and A Country Still All Mystery.


Taking its title from an encounter in Thomas De Quincey’s youthful wanderings, Valentine’s writing shares that author’s delight in the arcane, the recondite and the obscure.




‘He Saw the Absolute Coming through the Door’: Rex Warner’s Allegories

Through the Spaces of the Dark: G.W. Stonier’s The Memoirs of a Ghost

The Palace of Isis: A Note on Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘Mysterious Kôr’

Call for the Colonel: The Crime Novels of Philip MacDonald

Dusty Cathedral: The Piquant Thrillers of Edwin Greenwood

Pagan Mysteries in the Novels of P.M. Hubbard

Dorian by Candlelight

Narcissus of the Nineties: The Poems and Prose of Richard Le Gallienne

A Most Surprising Book: John Davidson’s Earl Lavender

Always Gaping at Weeds: Frank Kingdon-Ward, Himalayan Plant-Hunter

Perceval Landon’s Book of Shadows

J. Milton Hayes: The Green Eyed Yellow Idol Man

The Seer of Simla

The Craziest Road of All: E.H. Jones and The Road to En-Dor

Some Books on Tea Cup Reading

Three Dandies of the Thirties

‘A Rather Beautiful Refuse’: Mayvale by H.E. Clifton and James Wood

The Ephemeral is the Eternal: Sidney Hunt, Avant Garde Pioneer

Of an Antiquary

‘A Crocodile Truly’: The Poet of St Bertrand De Comminges

‘The Rare, the Choice and the Curious’: A.N.L. Munby’s ‘The Comte de Marnay’

Echoes of Saumur

Scottish Gothic: Lord Kilmarnock’s Ferelith

Modern Ghosts: The Macabre Fiction of L.P. Hartley

The Ancient Art: The Tales of A.E. Coppard

‘Great-Nephew to the Queen of Faerie’: A Note on the Grindletonians

At the Club of Bad Books: Dylan Thomas & John Davenport’s The Death of the King’s Canary

The Pierrot on the Shore: Robert Walmsley’s Winged Company

The Peterley Mystery

Zodiacs in Britain

The Return of the Grail

Beyond Tradition and Dream: Three Forgotten Authors

At the Sign of the Black Pterodactyl: George Hay and Books of ‘Some Other Dimension’

Through the Three Choir Shires: A Holiday Among Bookshops




"This delightful collection . . . Valentine’s essays brim with fascinating insights and details . . . Book lovers will find this volume’s contents compulsively readable and will almost certainly be driven to seek out the many books and authors cited with whom they are not already familiar." Publishers Weekly

'A Wild Tumultory Library . . . is just as enthralling as its predecessors, Haunted by Books and A Country Still All Mystery. Against all reason, I devoured this latest collection in one night, unable to stop myself. Actually, that’s not quite true. I did pause occasionally to search online for some of the titles Valentines writes about so infectiously.' Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

'Mark is a delightful wordsmith and as such always a joy to read, the lives and ideas of his subjects make for engaging topics and you're always going to find at least one author that you're going to absolutely need to track something down by.' Wyrd Britain



Limited edition hardbacks available by Mark Valentine:

Sphinxes & Obelisks

The Nightfarers (short stories)

Time, A Falconer: A Study of Sarban (biography)


Paperbacks available by Mark Valentine

A Wild Tumultory Library (essays)Haunted by Books (essays)

A Country Still All Mystery (essays)

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)


Ebooks available by Mark Valentine

The Nightfarers (short stories)

A Wild Tumultory Library (essays)

A Country Still All Mystery (essays)

Haunted by Books (essays)

The Herald of the Hidden (short stories)

The Collected Connoisseur (short stories, with John Howard)

Secret Europe (short stories, with John Howard)

Inner Europe (short stories with John Howard)

Copyright Tartarus Press 2021