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Comments

Cath

I think he must have been a fascinating person to have as a friend. I wonder if the students who went to hear him tell his stories realised how lucky they were. A few years ago the BBC dramatised these readings with Christopher Lee playing James. I must check to see if they're available on dvd. I suspect they're not. I didn't know he was a Sherlock Holmes fan - great taste! I quite fancy picking up a biography now. Glad you enjoyed the story... that one's not bad but there are others that are creepier, imo.

Matt

Your post really interests me. A scholar who writes ghost stories in his spare time and read them to friends---that's very lucky of his comrades. I'll check him out and read for October. :)

Dorothy W.

Your description of his stories sounds interesting -- the seaside or small village, the university, the scholar, the antique book, the supernatural -- what nice ingredients for a good story!

Danielle

Cath--I think Michael Cox wrote a bio of him. The edition I have had a really interesting intro. It described a literary club called the Chitchat society where he would read his stories. It would be interesting to read more about him. And I plan on reading more--I read that he has some very good later stories--I know the one I read is one of the first, so I have every confidence that they will get better.
Matt--He's supposed to be very well known and important in the development of the ghost story, so he seems like the guy to read. Doesn't it seem just perfect that he was a professor, too?
Dorothy--Yes, those are great combinations for a good ghost story. I'm looking forward to see what he set at the seaside. I have two volumes of his stories, so there should be a little bit of everything there.

Susan Sanford

M.r. James is lovely, there is noone like him. His basic premise is some fusty academic who comes charging into something that all his civilization and expertise has not prepared him for and gets his comeuppance.

litlove

What an intriguing man! There are lots of examples of Cambridge dons who seems super-productive, because back in the old days everything was done for them - they didn't have beds to make and dinners to cook or children to care for, and often they didn't have all that much teaching either! But still, some of them were very impressive indeed. I think I have one of his books of ghost stories somewhere...

Danielle

Susan--I do like the premise of his stories and I've enjoyed what I've read. I love the academic aspect of them almost more than the supernatural! I'm sure I'll enjoy reading more.
Litlove--How interesting. I guess given the circumstances, James must have had plenty of time to write and study and travel, and everything else. It's no wonder he accomplished so much. Still, he seems like a fascinating man. I've enjoyed the stories I've read and plan on reading more. I wonder if his papers and things are in your library/archives at Cambridge? There must have been/are all sorts of illustrious professors there!!

Carl V.

I really, really like 'creepily atmospheric' stories and am woefully ignorant of the works of M.R. James and need to correct that. He sounds like a fascinating individual as well as a perfectly R.I.P. like story teller.

Danielle

Carl--You should add him to your list. I think his stories are in lots of anthologies. The little two volume set I have is really nice and I'm looking forward to reading more.

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