• Goose of Hermogenes (Special Illustrated Edition)

November 2017


With an introduction by Richard Shillitoe


Ithell Colquhoun was a leading British surrealist artist and writer, whose love of the esoteric and the occult had a profound influence on her work. No where is this more apparent than in the weird and wonderful alchemical novel Goose of Hermogenes.

This new hardback edition features Colquhoun’s watercolour illustrations for the novel and contains a previously missing chapter


A young nameless woman must escape her uncle’s island when his sinister attentions fall upon an heirloom – a priceless jewel in her possession – that may be useful in his relentless attempts to conquer death by black magic.

Considered almost impenetrable by the novel’s original editor, Muriel Spark, Goose of Hermogenes has since acquired a legendary status as a work of surrealist fiction. Illustrated with Colquhoun’s beautiful alchemical paintings, and contextualised by biographer Richard Shillitoe, this new edition can be fully appreciated for its intoxicating strangeness.


‘Lurks somewhere between the territory of Beardsley and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast … shudderingly enjoyable.' – Guardian
‘The whole novel possesses a haunting, visionary quality most uncommon in present-day prose.’ – Daily Telegraph
‘An extraordinary book … the descriptions have a gripping hallucinogenic clarity … Part Gothic fantasy, part emblematic progress through a dream world where we are never sure we have the complete key to the meaning, we see the workings of a perceptive and curious painterly eye.’ – Mandrake Speaks


ITHELL COLQUHOUN (1906–1988) was a painter and writer whose works contributed greatly to the British Surrealist movement before and after the Second World War. Her phantasmagorical landscapes and portraits hang on the walls of major galleries around the world. The daughter of a civil servant in India, Colquhoun was born in Assam, but was soon sent back to England. She studied at Cheltenham Art School and the Slade School of Art, after which she took studios around Europe, studying under the likes of Paul Vézelay and André Breton. In 1942 she married fellow surrealist Toni del Renzio. An acrimonious divorce in 1947 also saw Colquhoun informally separate from the surrealist movement, leaving her free to explore her interest in mysticism, the esoteric and the occult. The results of this pre-occupation are most evident in her writing, which includes the short novel Goose of Hermogenes (1961) and two earlier travelogues, The Crying of the Wind (1955) and The Living Stones (1957). She died in Lamorna, Cornwall 1988.

Bibliographic Data
Date Published November 2017
Format Hardback / Illustrated
ISBN Number 9780720620214
Pages 172

Goose of Hermogenes (Special Illustrated Edition)

  • £14.99


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