The Book of Jade by Park Barnitz




  • A New Critical Edition
  • Compiled by David E. Schultz and Michael J. Abolafia
  • Trade paper
  • 324 pages
  • ISBN 978-1-61498-126-8
  • May 2015



"Schultz and Abolafia have put together a commendable new critical edition... Readers new to Barnitz's verse will find this well-conceived book an enlightening introduction to a poet whose verse is always interesting and occasionally unforgettable."—Publishers Weekly



H. P. Lovecraft referred to Park Barnitz as “a vivid decadent of the fin de siècle period who modelled his verse on Baudelaire & killed himself soon after graduation from Harvard.” His one and only volume, The Book of Jade (1901), has become a legend in the realm of weird poetry, its technical precision and its relentless obsession with death, horror, madness, and pessimism making it a choice prize for appreciators of poetic witchery.


But almost nothing is known about its young author, who died at the age of twenty-three. This comprehensive edition presents a wealth of material about David Park Barnitz—biographical, critical, and bibliographical. It contains the complete text of The Book of Jade along with additional poems and essays by Barnitz, some of which have never been reprinted. In addition, Gavin Callaghan has written an exhaustive biography that presents a fascinating portrait of the poet, delving into his family’s ancestry and collecting widely scattered nuggets of information on Barnitz’s life, work, and thought.


The editors have gathered a wide array of criticism on Barnitz, including contemporary reviews and early essays by Floyd Dell, Carey McWilliams, and Joseph Payne Brennan. The book concludes with a brace of original essays on Barnitz’s poetic achievement. This is the definitive edition of The Book of Jade, featuring masses of material not available elsewhere.


Table of Contents

The Book of Jade, by Park Barnitz

Uncollected Writings, by Park Barnitz


Danse Macabre

[Letter to William Doxey, 1901]

The Truth about Rudyard Kipling

The Art of the Future



Park Barnitz: A Biography, by Gavin Callaghan


Contemporary Reviews

The Promise of Contemporary Art

Two American Poets: A Study in Possibilities, by Floyd Dell

We (Almost) Die for Art, by Floyd Dell

The Poet of Montsalvat, by Carey McWilliams

A Land of Poets, by Carey McWilliams

America’s “Yellow Nineties” Poet, by Joseph Payne Brennan

Renaissance, by David E. Schultz

The Perfection of the Corpse: Necrophilia in The Book of Jade,
by K. A. Opperman

The Grotesques: Sins against the Afterlife, by Ashley Dioses

Barnitz and Pessimism, by Matt Sarraf

“I Am Weary of That Lidless Eye”: Gazing into the Hegelian Abyss of Subjectivity in the
Mad Sonnets of Park Barnitz, by Chuck Caruso, Ph.D.

Two Dead Men: Park Barnitz and Rudyard Kipling, by Gavin Callaghan

Afterword, by Michael J. Abolafia

Index of Titles and First Lines

This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 25 April, 2010.