James, M[ontague]. R[hodes].


M. R. James
1 August 1862 - 12 June 1936

English writer, antiquarian, and academic, widely regarded as one of the greatest practitioners of supernaturalist short fiction; his specialty was the antiquarian ghost story.

Sites:
A Thin Ghost
A very nice James site w/ bibiographical info, a bibliography, a much-needed filmography, and a nice sample of illustrations for James' work over the years. [Stephen Gray]
The Ghost Stories of M. R. James opens in new tab/window
Includes bibliographical information and some extexts, linked below. [Frank Adey]
Biographical note
[Wikipedia]
M. R. James
Brief biographical note and links.
M. R. James Season
The BBC produced, in 2004-2005, a handful of TV adaptations of M. R. James stories; the site for this endeavor includes biographical info, links, and an audio interview w/ author Muriel Gray discussing M. R. James.
Bibliography
[FantasticFiction]



Unabridged audio versions of
James' tales
[ Craftsman AudioBooks ]
Etexts:
James' most important and well-known works are those collected in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary and its sequel, More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. In keeping with the prominence of these volumes, I've listed the tales below under each respective title and in the order in which they appeared in those volumes. Both of these volumes are completely represented by the etexts linked here.

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
[all stories in this edition first published 1904 unless otherwise indicated]

"Canon Alberic's Scrap-book" [1893]
Believed to be James' first ghost story. Nothing like getting a good deal on an old book, eh? But it turns out that Canon Alberic was a pretty bad boy after all, and, as Shakespeare tells us in his ghost-featuring play Julius Caesar, "the evil that men do lives after them." Some interesting religious things going on here as well.
- at Gaslight
- at Curculio [Michael Hendry]
- at LitGothic
-->  StudyGuide for this story a LitGothic etext

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"Lost Hearts" [1895]
"The Mezzotint"
"The Ash-Tree"
- at Gaslight
- at Short, Scary Ghost Stories
-- notes to this story at Ghosts and Scholars [Rosemary Pardoe]

"Number 13"
Even today some hotels and other tall buildings will not have, officially, a thirteenth floor; in this indirect Jamesian classic, a small inn has room number 12 and room number 14, but not room number 13. At least during the day. Compare to any of a number of other "haunted room" stories....
- at Gaslight

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"Count Magnus"
"Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad"
"The Treasure of Abbot Thomas"




More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
[all stories in this edition first published 1911 unless otherwise indicated]


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"A School Story"
"The Rose Garden"
- at LitGothic (26K) a LitGothic etext

"The Tractate Middoth"
- at LitGothic (40K) a LitGothic etext

"Casting the Runes"
"The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral"
- at LitGothic (36K) a LitGothic etext

"Martin's Close"
- at LitGothic (43K) a LitGothic etext
-- notes to this story at Ghosts and Scholars [Rosemary Pardoe]

"Mr. Humphries and His Inheritance"
- at LitGothic (62K) a LitGothic etext



Other James' etexts:
Nunkie DVD

Nunkie DVD

Don't miss these
brilliant live performances
of several of James' masterpieces.
"The Diary of Mr. Poynter"
- at HorrorMasters (PDF)

"The Haunted Doll's House"
- at LitGothic a LitGothic etext
-- notes to this story at Ghosts and Scholars [Rosemary Pardoe]

"An Episode of Cathedral History"
- at Gaslight

"The Neighbour's Landmark"
Originally published in The Eton Chronic in 1924; first book publication was in James' collection A Warning to the Curious (1925). This work, like James' "Martin's Close," makes reference to Lord Chief Justice George Jeffreys, the notorious 17th Century "hanging judge."
- at U Adelaide

"The Residence at Whitminster"
"The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance"
An M. R. James Christmas story, complete w/ puppet show.

"Two Doctors"
"A Warning to the Curious"
- at LitGothic (39K) a LitGothic etext

"The Wailing Well"
- at Gaslight



Essays and Reviews:
"'A Warning to the Curious' : The 'Nicely Managed' Mind of M. R. James" opens in new tab/window
by Maria Purves. This articles examines the possibility that James' affinity for the ghost story — as well as many aspects of his personality — may be understood as the expression of autistic spectrum disorder in James. See also, via links at the end of the article, the counterargument to this essay and a response. [PsyArt]

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Ghosts and Scholars opens in new tab/window
A literary magazine that "continues the Jamesian tradition" and is devoted to "encouraging scholarly research into James, his themes and his followers"; the site includes a bibliography of writings about James, links, and much more. Highly recommended. [Rosemary Pardoe]

"The Rules of Folklore in the Ghost Stories of M. R. James"
by Jacqueline Simpson.

"Ghosts, trains and trams: the technologies of transport in the ghost stories of M.R. James"
by Ralph Harrington.

"The Weird Works of M. R. James" by Clark Ashton Smith.
Takes one to know one... Smith, himself an accomplished writer of the weird tale, discusses in glowing terms the achievements of one of his masters in this 1934 essay. [The Eldritch Dark]

"M. R. James."