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A Chamber of Horrors - Hadfield - 1965

A Chamber of Horrors is an anthology of horror short stories and poetry edited by John Hadfield. It was first published in 1965.


In ”A Chamber of Horrors a master anthologist whose Book of Beauty and other such collections have delighted thousands, has produced something quite distinctive in anthologies of the macabre – a spine-chilling assemblage of not only stories by the masters but also of ‘sick’ poetry and the horrific theme in art.

The names of the story tellers represented are a sufficient indication of their quality, ranging as they do from ‘Monk’ Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe and Le Fanu to Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Angus Wilson and Ray Bradbury. Although some famous tales are here, Mr Hadfield has been at pains to avoid the obvious, and there will be some horrible surprises for many readers – such as the early nineteenth century masterpiece ‘The Spectra-Smitten’ by Samuel Warren, a truly tragic tale by T.F. Powys and a searing study in Scientific Macabre by Roald Dahl.

The poems, by such varied authors as Shakespeare and De La Mare, Baudelaire and William Blake, add poison to the dish, the piquancy of which is indicated by the appearance, in words and pictures, of John (Beatle) Lennon.

The most original element perhaps in this witches brew is a brilliantly chosen series of examples of the pictorial art of the macabre – a subject of intense interest which has been very little studied. Mr Hadfield traces the horrific theme through works by Caravaggio, Pieter Bruegel, Hieronymus Bosch, Fuseli and Goya, down to the fantastic effulgence of the macabre in paintings by Picasso, Miró, Paul Klee, Salvador Dali and other surrealist painters of our own time. If this were not so loathsome a book we should have no hesitation in describing it as a very beautiful one.


  • Recipe for Villainy by Thomas Middleton
  • Exercise by George Crabbe
  • Hell by John Milton
  • Satan by John Milton
  • Innocents' Song by Charles Causley
  • The Hunted Beast by T. F. Powys
  • Captain Murderer by Charles Dickens
  • Tailpiece by Harry Graham
  • The Small Assassin by Ray Bradbury
  • Berenice by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Mr. Loveday's Little Outing by Evelyn Waugh
  • Randolf's Party by John Lennon
  • Intimidation of Things to Come by William Shakespeare
  • The Tender Age by John Collier
  • More Spinned Against by John Wyndham
  • Necessity by Harry Graham
  • The Abyss by Leonid Andreyev
  • A Woman Seldom Found by William Sansom
  • The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
  • Fair Elenor by William Blake
  • Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning
  • At the Draper's by Thomas Hardy
  • An Actor of Parts by P. S.
  • O Amiable Lovely Death by William Shakespeare
  • The Spectre-Smitten by Samuel Warren
  • The Valley of Vain Desires by John Addington Symonds
  • The Desire to Be a Man by Villiers de l'Isle-Adam
  • Minotaur by Michael Ayrton
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Bianca by Arthur Symons
  • Meeting with a Double by George D. Painter
  • Drugged by Walter de la Mare
  • Miss Cornelius by William Fryer Harvey
  • A Little Place Off the Edgeware Road by Graham Greene
  • The Horrors of Sleep by Emily Bronte
  • Green Tea by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • The Upper Berth by F. Marion Crawford
  • William and Mary by Roald Dahl
  • Skirmish by Clifford D. Simak
  • A Dance of Death by Charles Baudelaire
  • The Mansions of the Dead by Robert Blair
  • Holy-Day of Ghosts by John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee
  • Thou Shell of Death by Cyril Tourneur
  • A Tough Tussle by Ambrose Bierce
  • The Ultimate Fear by William Shakespeare
  • The Living Death by Oscar Wilde
  • Envoi by D. B. Wyndham Lewis