Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas M.R. James

It's not M.R. James' birthday next week but it is Christmas. And if James is known for anything, it's for his annual "ghost" stories that he would write and read aloud to the Chit Chat Club on Christmas around a fire. So in honor of the master of the ghost story, I'll be posting a full week's worth of monsters next week, including Christmas Day. 

You may notice I put "ghost" in quotes. That's because most of James' stories don't concern actual ghosts but demons, banshees, curses and unnameable horrors. His obssession with church architecture and the history of England add an undeniable sense of reality and place to stories where dark specters lurk in grim atmosphere. 

"At the opposite pole of genius from Lord Dunsany, and gifted with an almost diabolic power of calling horror by gentle steps from the midst of prosaic daily life, is the scholarly Montague Rhodes James, Provost of Eton College, antiquary of note, and recognised authority on mediaeval manuscripts and cathedral history. Dr. James, long fond of telling spectral tales at Christmastide, has become by slow degrees a literary weird fictionist of the very first rank; and has developed a distinctive style and method likely to serve as models for an enduring line of disciples."
H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror In Literature 


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