BookfairTheKingInYellowThe 1895 psycho-thriller “The King in Yellow,” by Robert Chambers, is making a comeback. Climbing to #7 on Amazon’s list last week, the book seems to have struck a chord with young people, but not the book selling elites. None of the vendors at the recent Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair had a copy for sale. Most hadn’t even heard of the work. One reason might be that “The King in Yellow” offers a prophetic glimpse of the “Imperial Dynasty of America” — one that delights young people but makes their elders nervous.

In the city of New York the summer of 1899 was signalized by the dismantling of the Elevated Railroads. The summer of 1900 will live in the memories of New York people for many a cycle; the Dodge Statue was removed in that year. In the following winter began that agitation for the repeal of the laws prohibiting suicide which bore its final fruit in the month of April, 1920, when the first Government Lethal Chamber was opened on Washington Square.

“Ah! I see it now!” I shrieked. “You have seized the throne and the empire. Woe! woe to you who are crowned by the crown of the King in Yellow!” The King in Yellow (F. Tennyson Neely, 1895)