Synopses & Reviews
The ghost stories of M.R. James, considered by many to be the most terrifying in English, have lost none of their power to unsettle and disturb. They draw on the terrors of the everyday, often in closed rooms and night-time settings where the imagination runs riot. Lonely country houses, remote inns, and ancient churches provide settings for unbearable menace, from creatures seeking retribution and harm. This book presents all of James's published ghost stories, including the unforgettable "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" and "Casting the Runes," plus three uncollected tales. Darryl Jones's lively introduction explores James's conservative, donnish background and the character traits that contributed to the extraordinary power of his tales, and his notes illuminate James's antiquarian, classical, and literary references as well as providing interesting publishing history details. An Appendix reprints the prefaces and introductions to James's individual story collections together with three short articles by James about the ghost story. A marvelous gift idea, boasting an attractive design and a ribbon marker, this is the only hardcover edition of James's tales in print.
"James (1862 1936), a Cambridge don, laid the foundations of the modern ghost story with the 33 well-wrought antiquarian tales collected here. In 'Â Ã¢Â€Â˜Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad,'Â ' a note blown on an ancient instrument accidentally summons a horrifying entity from the primitive past. 'Canon Alberic's Scrap-book' and 'The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral' both concern demonic beings aroused through scholarly researches into church history. 'The Mezzotint' tells of a supernaturally animated print whose imagery replays a horrifying tragedy from the past. James emphasized atmosphere and mood over shock tactics, but he always insisted that ghosts be malevolent and found very disquieting forms for them to take. Many of these stories are time-tested classics, and this volume, which also includes an informative introduction and notes by Darryl Jones, is indispensable for any fan of supernatural fiction." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
'I was conscious of a most horrible smell of mould, and of a cold kind of face pressed against my own...'
Considered by many to be the most terrifying writer in English, M. R. James was an eminent scholar who spent his entire adult life in the academic surroundings of Eton and Cambridge. His classic supernatural tales draw on the terrors of the everyday, in which documents and objects unleash terrible forces, often in closed rooms and night-time settings where imagination runs riot. Lonely country houses, remote inns, ancient churches or the manuscript collections of great libraries provide settings for unbearable menace, from creatures seeking retribution and harm. These stories have lost none of their power to unsettle and disturb.
This edition presents all of James's published ghost stories, including the unforgettable 'Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad' and 'Casting the Runes', and an appendix of James's writings on the ghost story. Darryl Jones's introduction and notes provide a fascinating insight into James's background and his mastery of the genre he made his own.
About the Author
's other publications include Horror: A Thematic History in Fiction and Film
(London: Arnold; New York: OUP, 2002).
Table of Contents
Chronology of M. R. James
Canon Alberic's Scrap-book
'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad'
The Treasure of Abbot Thomas
A School Story
The Rose Garden
The Tractate Middoth
Casting the Runes
The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral
Mr. Humphreys and His Inheritance
The Residence at Whitminster
The Diary of Mr. Poynter
An Episode of Cathedral History
The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance
The Haunted Dolls' House
The Uncommon Prayer-Book
A Neighbour's Landmark
A View from a Hill
A Warning to the Curious
An Evening's Entertainment
There was a Man Dwelt by a Churchyard
After Dark in the Playing Fields
The Malice of Inanimate Objects
Appendix: M. R. James on Ghost Stories