An Annotated Bibliography of M. P. Shiel

By Alan Gullette


Consisting of First Editions Only, With Some Exceptions


Short Descriptions Based Largely On

A. Reynolds Morse's The Works Of M. P. Shiel

(Los Angeles: Fantasy Publishing, 1948),

Except As Noted


With Additional Input from

John Squires and Laurence Roberts



[ Short Story Collections ] [ Novels ] [ Omnibus Volumes ] [ Essays ] [ Poetry ]

[ Additional Collaborations ] [ Biographical and Bibliographical ]



Short Story Collections

Prince Zaleski (London: John Lane, 1895) -- three detective stories: "The Race of Orven," "The Stone of the Edmundsbury Monks," and "The S.S."


Shapes in the Fire (London: John Lane, 1896) -- five Poesque stories, an essay, and a long poem: "Xélucha," "Maria in the Rose-Bush," "Vaila," "Premier and Maker (An Essay)," "Tulsah," "The Serpent Ship" (poem), and "Phorfor"; E. F. Bleiler placed it on his suggested reading list of Victorian supernatural fiction.


The Pale Ape (London: T. Werner Laurie, 1911) -- mostly thrillers and a few supernatural stories; contents: "The Pale Ape," "The Case of Euphemia Raphash," the three-part "Cummings King Monk," "A Bundle of Letters," "Huegenin's Wife," "Many a Tear" (which Shiel considered the only "worthy" story in the collection), "The House of Sounds" (revision of "Vaila"), "The Spectre Ship," "The Great King," and "The Bride."


Here Comes the Lady (London: The Richards Press, 1928) -- "powerful short stories ... joined by a very thin and unworthy narrative plot in which several suitors compete in telling stories for the hand of a girl" -- " Shiel's frenzied style and no other would suit such mad amazing adventures"; contents: "The Tale of Hugh and Agatha," "The Tale of Henry and Rowena," "The Tale of Gaston and Mathilde," "No. 16 Brook Street," "The Tale of One in Two," "The Tale of Charley and Barbara," "The Bell of St. Sépulcre," "The Primate of the Rose," "The Corner in Cotton," "Dark Lot of One Saul," and "The Tale of Adam and Hannah."


The Invisible Voices (London: The Richards Press, 1935) -- "If he had never written any novels at all, these [eleven] unique and varied stories by themselves would set him permanently beside Saki, O. Henry, and Ambrose Bierce"; contents: "The Panel Day," "The Adore Day," "The Rock Day (The Vulture's Rock)," "The Diary Day," "The Cat Day," "The Lion Day," "The Place of Pain Day," "The Vengeance Day," "The Venetian Day," "The Future Day," and "The Goat Day."


The Best Short Stories of M. P. Shiel (London: Victor Gollancz, 1948) -- John Gawsworth's selection using original versions of stories; contents: "The Race of Orven," "The Stone of the Edmundsbury Monks," "The S.S.," "Xélucha," "Vaila," "Tulsah," "Phorfor," "Huegenin's Wife," "Monk Wakes an Echo," "The Bride," "Dark Lot of One Saul," and "The Primate of the Rose."


Xélucha and Others (Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1975) -- the Arkham selection of the supernatural tales, revised by Shiel; still in print; contents: "Xélucha," "The Primate of the Rose," "Dark Lot of One Saul," "The House of Sounds," "The Globe of Goldfish," "Many a Tear" "The Bride," "The Tale of Henry and Rowena," "The Bell of St. Sépulcre," "Huegenin's Wife," "The Pale Ape," and "The Case of Euphemia Raphash."


Prince Zaleski and Cummings King Monk (Sauk City, WI: Mycroft & Moran, 1977) -- a collection of stories involving these sleuths, still in print; contains the three stories from Prince Zaleski plus "The Return of Prince Zaleski" (a posthumous collaboration with John Gawsworth) and the Monk stories "He Meddles with Women," "He Defines 'Greatness of Mind,'" and "He Wakes an Echo."


Xélucha and The Primate of the Rose (Sussex: Tartarus Press, 1994) -- two stories, same versions as the Arkham House Xélucha.

Prince Zaleski (Carlton, England: Tartarus Press, 2002). -- presents the "complete" Zaleski: the three tales from the 1893 John Lane edition plus three posthumous collaborations with John Gawsworth: "The Return of Prince Zaleski," "The Missing Merchants" (set in Machen's hometown of Gwent), and the unfinished "The Hargen Inheritance."


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The Rajah's Sapphire (London: Ward, Lock & Bowden, 1896) with W. T. Stead -- a coveted gem haunts its owners. Handsomely reprinted by Highflyer Press in 1981, with an Afterword by John D. Squires.


The Yellow Danger (London: Grant Richards, 1898) John Hardy battles the Chinaman Yen How for domination of the world


Contraband of War (London: Grant Richards, 1899) -- a Spaniard and an American engage in a contest of wits; the standoff results in an alliance which will surely subdue the world; written as a serial during the Spanish-American War of 1898


Cold Steel (London: Grant Richards, 1899) -- "a swashbuckling tale set among the court and times of Henry VIII" (Morse)


The Man-Stealers (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1900) -- the French plot to kidnap the Duke of Wellington to avenge Napoleon's imprisonment


Lord of the Sea (London: Grant Richards, 1901) -- "Richard Hogarth ... finds a meteorite full of diamonds, builds huge steel forts with his wealth, places them at the cross-roads" of the earth's oceans to control all sea-traffic for tribute to benefit "the citizens of his mammoth iron islands." (The 1924 Knopf U.S. edition was "savagely cut.")


The Purple Cloud (London: Chatto & Windus, 1901) -- Adam Jeffson adventures to the North Pole; on returning he realizes the entire population of the world has been destroyed by a cloud of cyanogen; he tours with world as master of all he sees, revelling and destroying as he will


The Weird o' It (London: Grant Richards, 1902) -- the life of John Hay is a "mixture of tragic romance and adventure" -- "stylistically ... not a great deal of the ultra-solar Shiel" but "plotwise the story is magnificent as Hay is transformed by the vagaries of his experiences into an Overman"


Unto the Third Generation (London: Chatto & Windus, 1903) -- mystery, adventure, and romantic narrative


The Evil that Men Do (London: Ward, Lock & Co., 1904) -- "the story of a great impersonation" of one man by another, made possible by the strange fact that both were born in the image of the mad captain of a ship which transported their mothers while pregnant


The Lost Viol (New York: Edward J. Clode, 1905) -- romance and mystery


The Yellow Wave (London: Ward, Lock & Co., 1905) Shiel called it his "Romeo and Juliet" as well as "a novel written without adjectives" -- the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 is prematurely ended by the death of the enamored son and daughter of the countries' leaders


The Last Miracle (London: T. Werner Laurie, 1906) -- Baron Kolar comes from distant Styria to rural England, "creating hoaxes of religious miracles with the intended goal of building up religious fervor and eventually revealing them as fake, thereby discrediting the church and causing its downfall" (Laurence Roberts).


The White Wedding (London: T. Werner Laurie, 1908) -- a "very straight-forward story" -- tragic and with "more conversation, and more natural conversation than is usual for Shiel" (Morse); "a game keeper enters into a Platonic (thus, 'white') wedding to save his true love for his unworthy lord" (Squires).


The Isle of Lies (London: T. Werner Laurie, 1909) -- "Doctor Lepsius finds an unusual stone but he cannot decipher the ancient writing on it," so he sires "a son who will be able to read his mysterious piece of basalt" -- but the son is distracted from his scholarly, monastic life by the lure of women and the world


This Knot of Life (London: Everett & Co., 1909) -- personal intrigue, misadventure, and a happy ending somehow illustrate Shiel's philosophy of art and life


The Dragon (London: Grant Richards, 1913) Re-issued as The Yellow Peril (1929) -- a Sino-English war features flying boats and blinding rays -- called The Yellow Danger "with the racism removed" just as the 1929 revision "omits most of the strange and controversial elements" (Paul Spencer)


Children of the Wind (London: Grant Richards, 1923) -- adventure set in Africa: tribal warfare including "biological warfare," lesbianism, and (as usual) "vibrant plotting" -- "a full-blooded story done in his fabulously refreshing style" -- written after a ten-year hiatus


How the Old Woman Got Home (London: The Richards Press, 1927) -- fast-paced mystery: "real Shiel" -- "sold very widely" despite the fact that "it carried a message"


Dr. Krasinski's Secret (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1929) -- combines "a superb medical mystery, a romance, and an adventure story"


The Black Box (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1930) -- a murder mystery of "almost cryptic" style and "unexpected and ingenious" compactness of plot


Say Au R'Voir But Not Goodbye (London: Ernest Benn Ltd., 1933) -- "a sunken ship ... mysteriously floats herself in time to redeem her owner"


This Above All (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1933) -- reissued as Above All Else (1943) -- an epistolary "fable of immortality": "Jesus is still alive -- as well as Lazarus, and ... others whom he raised from the dead" (Morse) -- Shiel denounces superstition and praises science; "an uneasy equilibrium among the miracles of the Gospels, cellular biology, erotica, and French politics" (Bleiler)


The Young Men Are Coming! (London: Allen & Unwin, 1937) -- a science fiction story, possibly the first to deal with alien abduction: Dr. Warwick and "the young men" battle religious fascists with the help of space creatures


The New King (Cleveland, Ohio: The Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1981) -- Shiel's last novel, alternately entitled The Splendid Devil, written c. 1934-45; also contains an unpublished dialog with Cummings King Monk


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Omnibus Volumes

The Empress of the Earth; The Purple Could; and Some Short Stories (Cleveland, Ohio: The Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1979) -- The Works of M. P. Shiel Vol. I, Writings -- offprints of the original periodical editions, with period illustrations; The Empress of the Earth was the original serial version of The Yellow Danger; stories from 1893-1911: "Guy Harkaway's Substitute," "The Eagle's Crag," "A Puzzling Case," "Huguenin's Wife," "The Case of Euphemia Raphash," "Wayward Love," "The Spectre Ship," "The Secret Panel," "A Night in Venice," "The Battle of Waterloo," "Ben," "The Bride," "Many a Tear," "Miche," and "A Good Thing."


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"Premier and Maker" -- a 70-page essay on the philosophy of art presented in the form of dialog and included as an interlude in Shapes in the Fire (1896).


"On Reading" -- a "tremendous and involved philosophical treatise" that forms the first part of This Knot of Life (1909), reprinted in Shiel in Diverse Hands.


"How to be Happy," in The Plain Dealer (London, Sept., 1933) pp. 28-29. Shiel describes his "excellent system for achieving a new consciousness" through breathing exercises; reprinted in Science, Life and Literature


Science, Life and Literature (1950) -- eighteen essays collected by John Gawsworth


Shiel in Diverse Hands -- see below under Biographical and Bibliographical


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Richard's Shilling Selections from Edwardian Poets -- M. P. Shiel (London: The Richards Press, 1936) -- 37 poems mostly culled from Shiel's fiction -- "curious and uneven"


Shiel's Collected Poems might someday be published by Highflyer Press (Kansas City, MO).


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Additional Collaborations

·       Shiel also wrote several books with Louis Tracy, some under the penname Gordon Holmes (mainly detective stories). He also wrote the final installment (chapter 29) of Tracy's science fiction novel, An American Emperor (Pearson's Weekly, 1897).


·       The Seven Limbs of Satan, the uncollected collaborations of Shiel and John Gawsworth, might yet be published by the Vainglory Press.



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Biographical and Bibliographical

Bleiler, E. F. "Matthew Phipps Shiel." In The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, ed. John Chute and Peter Nichols. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. (Also on CDROM.)


Bleiler, E. F. "Matthew Phipps Shiel." In Supernatural Fiction Writers. New York: Scribner's, 1985.


Block, Andrew. Key Books of British Authors, 1600-1922 (London: Denis Archer, 1933), p. 300 lists The Purple Cloud as Shiel's "key book."


Gawsworth, John. "Notes Toward a Definitive Bibliography," in Ten Contemporaries (1932).  Gawsworth (Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong), a poet, editor, and author, was a close friend of Shiel's, collaborated with him on a series of short stories in the 1930s, was named his literary executor and owner of his copyrights, and succeeded him as King of Redonda. He began but never completed a biography of Shiel. He died in 1970 and named Jon Wynne-Tyson as his successor as literary executor (undisputed) and as King of Redonda (contested). Toreros, a selection of Gawsworth's best poems, was published by Centaur Press in 1990.


Morse, Albert Reynolds. The Works of M. P. Shiel Los Angeles: Fantasy Publishing, 1948; revised and much expanded in two volumes as The Shielography Updated, Cleveland, Ohio: The Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1980. The definitive Shiel bibliography (to 1980).  Morse is also notable as founder, curator, and previous owner of the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida (donated to the State of Florida).


Morse, Albert Reynolds, ed. with notes. Shiel in Diverse Hands. Cleveland, Ohio: The Reynolds Morse Foundation, 1983. This is a remarkable collection of some 30 essays, filling nearly 500 pages, by an impressive list of critics and scholars. Also reprints three significant Shiel essays. A "must" for any serious Shiel aficionado.


Contents of Shiel in Diverse Hands:

Anonymous. Man Abroad Chapter IX., "Henrygeorgia." p 485.

Arrington, Robert. "The Illustrated Shiel." p 171.

Barrett, Mike. "A Primate of Pure Prose." p 133.

Barrett, Mike. "The Short Stories of M. P. Shiel - A Chronological Listing." p 143.

Billings, Harold. "The Shape of Shiel (Notes on the Early Years)." p 77.

Bleiler, E. F. "M. P. Shiel 1865-1947." p 123.

Bleiler, E. F. "M. P. Shiel: Humorist?." p 132.

Derleth, August. "Two Notes on Shiel's Style." p 145.

Drake, David A. "The New King (Shiel's Final Novel): An Appreciation." p 329.

Eng, Steve. "John Gawsworth...On M.P Shiel: A Selection." p 395.

Eng, Steve. "M. P. Shiel and Arthur Machen." p 233.

Eng, Steve. "M. P. Shiel and Secret Societies." p 223.

Ferguson, Malcolm. "On Digging Shiel." p 69.

Goldwater, Walter. "Shiel, Van Vechten and the Question of Colour." p 75.

Hay, George. "Shiel versus the Renegade Romantic." p 109.

Herron, Don. "The Mysteries of M. P. Shiel." p 179.

Locke, George. "The Book Collector and M. P. Shiel." p 159.

Lofts, W. O. G. "Magazines containing works by M. P. Shiel." p 153.

Lofts, W. O. G. "My Search for Elusive Shiel Material." p 147.

Moskowitz, Sam. "The Dark Plots of One Shiel." p 57.

P. Indick, Ben. "Villain, Vaudevillian and Saint." p 357.

Morse, A. Reynolds. "M. P. Shiel the Author - Still Unknown." p 331.

Home, W. Scott. "The Rose Beyond the Thunders and the Whirlpools." p 343.

Shanks, Edward. "The Purple Cloud and Its Author (1929)." p 23.

Shiel, M. P. "On Printing." p 406.

Shiel, M. P. "On Reading and on Writing (Revised Version, 1950)." p 449.

Shiel, M. P. "On Reading (First Version, 1909)." p 409.

Spencer, Paul. "Shiel versus Shiel." p 31.

Squires, John D. "Steel Afloat: M. P. Shiel on Naval Warfare." p 303.

Squires, John D. "The Dragon"s Tale: M. P. Shiel on the Emergence of Modern China." p 249.

Stableford, Brian. "The Politics of Evolution." p 369.

Tytheridge, Alan. "An Uncrowned Lord of Language (1924)." p 1.

Van Vechten, Carl. "A Prolegomenon (introduction to The Lord of the Sea, 1924)." p 15.

Wade, James. "You Can't Get There From Here: How the Old Woman Got Home and M. P. Shiel as Thinker." p 195.

Wayne Foster, Stephen. "Prince Zaleski and Count Stenbock." p 175.

Wilson, Colin. "Why is Shiel Neglected?" p 213.

Wynne-Tyson, Jon. "A Reluctant Monarch." p 205.

Wynne-Tyson, Jon. "M. P. Shiel: Right Royal Fantasist." p 208.


Moskowitz, Sam. "The World, the Devil, and M. P. Shiel." In Explorers of the Infinite. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1963.


Squires, John. "Shiel, M[atthew] P[hipps]." In The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural. pp. 382-4.


Twentieth Century Authors (New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1942), pp. 1279-80; First Supplement (1955), p. 905.


Obituaries: London Times, Feb. 20, 1947; New York Times, Feb. 18, 1947; Time, June 30, 1947.



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Last updated: Feburary 17, 2004



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