Valancourt Books

For the fictional character named Valancourt, see The Mysteries of Udolpho.
Valancourt Books
Founded 2005
Founder James Jenkins
Ryan Cagle
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Richmond, Virginia
Publication types Novels
Fiction genres Gothic fiction
Horror fiction
Gay literature
Official website

Valancourt Books is an independent American publishing house founded by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle in 2005.[1][2] The company specializes in "the rediscovery of rare, neglected, and out-of-print fiction," in particular gay titles and gothic and horror novels from the 18th century to the 1980s.[1]


Discovering that many works of Gothic fiction from the late 18th and early 19th centuries were unavailable in print, Jenkins and Cagle founded Valancourt in 2005 and began reprinting some of them.[1] Their list includes the "Northanger 'horrid' novels", seven gothic novels lampooned by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey (1818) and once thought to be fictional titles of Austen's creation.[3][4][5][6][7]

Eventually the company "expanded into neglected Victorian-era popular fiction, including old penny dreadfuls and sensation novels, as well as a lot of the decadent and fin de siècle literature of the 1890s."[1]

In 2012 they realized that there was 20th century literature as recent as the 1970s or 1980s that was equally difficult to find, and began republishing such modern works, in particular those of gay interest or in the horror/supernatural genre.[1] Valancourt has reprinted many works last published in the 1980s by the now-defunct Gay Men's Press in their Gay Modern Classics series.[1]

Valancourt's reprint editions all have new introductions either by the original authors or by "leading writers or critics."[1]

Notable titles

Author Work(s) Description
Eliza Parsons Castle of Wolfenbach (1793)
The Mysterious Warning, a German Tale (1796)
Wolfenbach and Mysterious Warning are two of the "Northanger 'horrid' novels", seven gothic novels lampooned by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey and once thought to be fictional titles of Austen's creation.[3][4][5][6][7]
Ludwig Flammenberg The Necromancer; or, The Tale of the Black Forest (1794) Another of Austen's Northanger Horrid Novels.[3][4][5][6][7]
Francis Lathom The Castle of Ollada (1795)
The Midnight Bell (1798)
Latham's first novel The Castle of Ollada is the story of a young man trying to solve the mystery of the ancient castle.
Midnight Bell is another of Austen's Northanger Horrid Novels.[3][4][5][6][7]
Matthew Lewis The Monk (1796) The Monk, the sinister and violent tale of an increasingly destructive Spanish monk, was praised for its genius and simultaneously condemned for its lewdness, vulgarity and blasphemy by the most important critics of its day.[8][9][10][11] The novel was widely popular because the reading public had been told that the book was horrible, blasphemous, and lewd, and they rushed to put their morality to the test.”[8]
Regina Maria Roche Clermont (1798) Another of Austen's Northanger Horrid Novels.[3][4][5][6][7]
Eleanor Sleath The Orphan of the Rhine (1798) Another of Austen's Northanger Horrid Novels.[3][4][5][6][7]
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu Carmilla (1871) A lesbian vampire tale that influenced Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897).[1]
Anonymous The Sins of the Cities of the Plain (1881)
Letters from Laura and Eveline (1883)
A Victorian erotic novel about a male prostitute, set in London around the time of the Cleveland Street Scandal and the Oscar Wilde trials.[1] Letters from Laura and Eveline is its "appendix" or sequel.[2]
Anonymous Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal (1893) One of the earliest pieces of English-language pornography to explicitly and near-exclusively concern homosexuality, of unknown authorship but often attributed to a collaborative effort by Oscar Wilde and some of his contemporaries.[12][13][14]
Francis King Never Again (1947)
An Air That Kills (1948)
The Dividing Stream (1951)
The Dark Glasses (1954)
Never Again is a "heartbreaking" novel based on the author's childhood; An Air That Kills is the story of a malaria-stricken writer who returns from a stint as a colonial administrator in India and forges a relationship with his orphaned nephew.[1] The Dividing Stream won the 1952 Somerset Maugham Award,[15] and in The Dark Glasses a married couple who have lost the spark in their marriage move to Corfu.
Walter Baxter Look Down in Mercy (1951) Celebrated novel about the World War II romance between an officer and an enlisted man.[1][16][17][18]
Rodney Garland The Heart in Exile (1953) The first gay detective novel, about a psychiatrist investigating his former lover's suicide.[1]
Kenneth Martin Aubade (1957) The story of a teenager's first love, written when the author was 16.[1]
Gerald Kersh Fowler's End (1958)
Nightshade and Damnations (1968)
Fowler's End is a Depression-era, Dickensian comedy.
Nightshade and Damnations is a collection of Kersh's short stories, edited by Harlan Ellison.
Michael Nelson A Room in Chelsea Square (1958) A "camp" novel about a wealthy gentleman who lures an attractive younger man to London with the promise of an upper crust lifestyle.[1][19]
Gillian Freeman The Leather Boys (1961) The first novel to focus on love between young working-class men rather than aristocrats.[1]
Michael Campbell Lord Dismiss Us (1967) Story of two gay people at a boarding school: "a teenager unashamedly coming to terms with his identity and a tortured teacher who is unable to accept his own,"[1] published in the same year that homosexuality between consenting adults was legalized in the United Kingdom.[20]
Michael McDowell The Amulet (1979)
Cold Moon Over Babylon (1980)
Gilded Needles (1980)
The Elementals (1981)
Katie (1982)
The Elementals is a horror novel that Poppy Z. Brite has called "surely one of the most terrifying novels ever written," and which led Stephen King to proclaim McDowell "the finest writer of paperback originals in America today."[1][21]
Michael Talbot The Delicate Dependency (1982) Celebrated vampire novel.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Healey, Trebor (May 28, 2014). "Early Gay Literature Rediscovered". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Cardamone, Tom (August 21, 2014). "James Jenkins: Publishing Lost Gay Classics". Lambda Literary. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "About Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey 'Horrid Novels'". Valancourt Books. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Northanger Canon". University of Virginia. 13 November 1998. Archived from the original on October 16, 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Frank, Frederick S. (1997). "Gothic Gold: The Sadleir-Black Gothic Collection". Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. 26: 287–312. doi:10.1353/sec.2010.0119.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Fincher, Max (March 22, 2011). "'I should like to spend my whole life in reading it': the resurrection of the Northanger 'horrid' novels". The Gothic Imagination (University of Sterling). Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Ford, Susan Allen. "A Sweet Creature's Horrid Novels: Gothic Reading in Northanger Abbey". Jane Austen Society of North America. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  8. 1 2 Peck, Louis (1961). A Life of Matthew G. Lewis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 23–25, 27–28.
  9. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (2006). "Review of The Monk by Matthew Lewis". In Greenblatt, Stephen; Abrams, M. H. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. D (8th ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 603–606.
  10. Irwin, Joseph (1976). M.G. "Monk" Lewis. Boston: Twayne Publishers. pp. 46, 48. ISBN 0-8057-6670-7.
  11. Parreaux, André (1960). The Publication of The Monk. Paris: Librairie Marcel Didier. p. 75.
  12. Nelson, James (2000). Publisher to the Decadents: Leonard Smithers in the Careers of Beardsley, Wilde, Dowson. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press.
  13. Gray, Robert; Christopher Keep (2007). "An Uninterrupted Current: Homoeroticism and collaborative authorship in Teleny". In Marjorie Stone; Judith Thompson. Literary Couplings: Writing Couples, Collaborators, and the Construction of Authorship. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-299-21764-7.
  14. Roditi, Edouard (1986). Oscar Wilde. New Directions Publishing. p. 168. ISBN 0-8112-0995-4.
  15. "Somerset Maugham Award: Past Winners". The Society of Authors. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  16. "Books: Man Under Pressure". Time. March 17, 1952. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  17. Granger, Derek (August 28, 1997). "Obituary: Fergus Provan". The Independent. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  18. Peyre, Henri (Autumn 1956). "The Most Neglected Books of the Past Twenty-Five Years Selected by Writers, Scholars and Critics". The American Scholar. Phi Beta Kappa Society. 25 (4): 492. JSTOR 41208189.
  19. Cordova, Steven (June 26, 2014). "A Room in Chelsea Square by Michael Nelson". Lambda Literary. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  20. "Sexual Offences Act 1967". Office of Public Sector Information. 1967. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  21. Winter, Douglas (1985). Faces of Fear. New York: Berkley Books. p. 177. ISBN 0-425-07670-9.
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