Ghost Stories (Popular Classics)

Ghost Stories Popular Classics M R James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve and they went on to both transform and modernise a genre James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognisable wo

  • Title: Ghost Stories (Popular Classics)
  • Author: M.R. James
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 346
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • M R James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, and they went on to both transform and modernise a genre James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognisable world to one that is indefinably strange, and then unforgettably terrifying Sheets, pictures, carvings, a dolls house, a lonely beach, a branch tapping on a window ordinaryM R James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, and they went on to both transform and modernise a genre James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognisable world to one that is indefinably strange, and then unforgettably terrifying Sheets, pictures, carvings, a dolls house, a lonely beach, a branch tapping on a window ordinary things take on than a tinge of dread in the hands of the original master of suspense.

    One thought on “Ghost Stories (Popular Classics)”

    1. I think the short story is probably the ideal form for horror - each line building the sense of tension and unease before a terrifying reveal. M R James nails this again and again in his stories as they almost all follow a winning formula which I won't disclose here. James' creatures (ghosts, demons, whatever they are!) are half-described things and all the more terrifying for it, lettig your imagination do the rest of the work. Cleverly, he also has them appear at times when the character is co [...]

    2. I have been reading ghost stories for more than thirty years now, and still consider Montague Rhodes James' stories as the most superior, skilfully written and chilling tales to be produced in this genre.

    3. I was in two minds about reading this because I love, LOVE, LOVE ghost stories, BUT I don't really enjoy short stories. Often I feel like you just don't get much from them as they are not long enough to get to know the characters or care about the storyline, plus you always like some stories in a collection better than othersSo glad to be proved wrong in this case!These fabulous tales were the perfect length, long enough to grab your attention and make you need to get to the end, but short enoug [...]

    4. 44. James, M. (Montague) R. (Rhodes). GHOST STORIES. ***. (1931; this ed. 1994). This is a reprint of an omnibus edition that James put together himself from his four previously published books of short stories. These included, “Ghost Stories of an Antiquary,” “A Thin Ghost and Others,” Twelve Mediaeval Ghost Stories,” and “The Five Jars.” What is special about this collection is that the author added a new preface where he answered a lot of questions that readers had asked him ove [...]

    5. There is a Monty Python sketch in which a chat show host interviews a man whose only claim to fame is that he says things in a very roundabout way. That man could have been MR James, who seemed to face an epic internal struggle every time he wanted to commence a new story. It became clear half way through this collection that I could probably skip the first two thirds of any story as unnecessarily detailed set-up. How's this for an opening paragraph, from "Count Magnus"?"By what means the papers [...]

    6. Originally published in 1931. Quite spooky and very, very upper-class English.I love the little asides sprinkled throughout:"Few people can resist the temptation to try a little amateur research in a department quite outside their own, if only for the satisfaction of how successful they would have been had they only taken it up seriously."" ' I think probably it was quite an attractive place, but boys seldom allow that their schools possess any tolerable features. ' "And I love that James descri [...]

    7. A must read if you're into horror literature. The power of these stories lies in what they leave to the reader's imagination. They usually start with a trip of some kind, some nights spent in a comfortable hotel room, and then the discovery of certain legend from that particular town, some superstition the villagers refuse to talk about and the supernatural elements begin to appear slowly: somebody taps at the window, the protagonist hears someone calling his name, but nobody's around, or he see [...]

    8. A collection of ghost stories from classic writer M. R. James, this is perfect for people who want some old-school suspense. Not exactly what I expected - a lot less creepy/scary - but still a nice collection to get into the Halloween spirit if you're not into contemporary horror. They're quite formulaic - scholar discovers something abnormal and then gets a scare - so I wouldn't recommend reading it in one sitting. I read a few in a row one day and it just felt like different versions of the sa [...]

    9. Classic ghost stories are generally fairly placid affairs by today's standards, but, not these ones! No, sir! James had a flair for them, he found the pattern, got the knack and fell into the rhythm, and as such wrote brilliantly and consistently. You'll find better horror out there, sure, but you will not find better ghost stories, and certainly none that'll send a shiver down your spine like these will.

    10. More creepy than violent, tales which start off with fairly normal events and situations as told by someonelse. Then it starts to get strange and then downright creepy. Sorry if I thought I heard rats in the room I was sleeping, I'd be out of bed, down the stairs looking for a number for rent-a-kill.

    11. Listened to the Derek Jacobi recording. Very atmospheric and eerie tales, but nothing terribly horrifying. (Except, maybe, for the Punch and Judy show in "The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance.")

    12. Taken as an anthology of writing by James and his purported influences, the book mixes some truly fascinating material with such careless and misleading scholarship that it is difficult to take anything in it seriously. Enjoy the selections, but be wary of Haining's assertions.

    13. I wasn't expecting much from this collection of short ghost stories. It was picked up in a rush on the way home from work. It's probably one of the most haunting collection of stories that I've read! Highly recommended.

    14. MR James was a respected medievalist and biblical scholar at Cambridge but is best known for his short horror stories, written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.Most adhere closely to a formula which seems to be of James's own devising. They usually involve a medievalist or biblical scholar who usually discovers something old, usually a text, which provokes a supernatural incident following a period of 'surveillance'. They're usually set in rural England, typically East Anglia [...]

    15. I enjoyed these even though the stories felt old-fashioned: bishops selling their soul to the devil and disturbed graves, ghouls with red eyes and claws prowling dark streets, mysterious occurrences. The stories on the whole are curiously unresolved and without explanation. The reader is very much left to her own devices.

    16. These ‘antiquarian’ ghost stories combine a genteel Edwardian Englishness with a creeping sense of unworldly horror.I’d heard a lot about influential academic-turned-author M.R. James, and was really looking forward to reading some of his ghostly tales. I’ve been working my way through Vintage’s Ghost Stories collection over the last few months, and on the whole I’ve really enjoyed it.James wrote several anthologies of ghost stories throughout his life, and each story follows a very [...]

    17. "It was a horrid, grotesque shape -- perhaps more like a toad than anything else, and there was a label by it inscribed with the two words, 'Despositum custodi." Maybe not exactly the type of ghost story you'd read around a campfire, holding a flashlight under your face, but really ideal for a stormy autumn night. I read a few back-to-back over the course of a night, and they sort of blended together. They were still enjoyable, but to maximize enjoyment, I recommend reading one story per night. [...]

    18. Me ha dejado un poco frío o, al menos, más frío de lo que yo esperaba. Es un libro clásico de la literatura de terror y temo que es precisamente de esto de lo que no logra escapar: historias que se quedan a medio camino de las de Edgar Allan Poe, E.T.A. Hoffmann o H.P. Lovecraft (aunque a este me recuerda solo en algunos casos), todas ellas con un denominador común: los finales son horribles y no precisamente en el sentido de que den miedo.Supongo que hubiera sido un buen libro para leer en [...]

    19. As a youngster M.R. James was one of my earliest introductions to scary books. I can honestly say that they did scare me, and yet, as an adult, whilst they are extremely well written, they are for perhaps a by-gone era, and so, perhaps they are less scary today.That said, Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You, My Lad remains a true horror classic. As a production, it has been on the BBC a few times, but the 2010 John Hurt version is REALLY scary (both the original and JH versions are on you tube) and [...]

    20. The author uses the most wonderfully evocative language and has a rhythmical way of writing that draws you in. So effective is his style that after reading a number of stories back to back, alone, I shut all the windows before I went to bed, something I never do, and spent a remarkably restless night. I now really wish I had passed Latin and maybe encouraged to try again. Truly remarkable writing that invokes a delicious sense of unease and a gnawing sense of dread.

    21. The book was indubitably great, there were all kinds of horror stories; from monsters to mere ghosts. Some of them were rather familiar. For instance, Rats, Casting the Runes and The Treasure of Abbot Thomas. I've read stories like these in other books. I can't believe horror stories were popular in those days coz the book was originally published in 1931! Anyway the only thing that troubled me is that there is no explanation for the ghostly occurrences that have occurred.

    22. I find M.R. James' clinical approach to horror (lengthy, matter-of-fact and detailed bordering on boring) an acquired taste but one that grows with you over time. Probably my favorite horror/gothic writer to date. "The Mezzotint" and "Number 13" are two of his stories that I've re-read numerous times but am still entertained by!

    23. Some of these tales are too old and dusty to be considered really scaryI mean HONESTLY,who goes to the library anymore? But having said that, nearly every story had at least a thread of disquiet running through it.The most masterful of all is 'Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad'."Quis Est Iste Qui Venit", indeed.

    24. Disclaimer: I don't think this is the exact edition I read (I have the Vintage Classics version) but as the content is probably similar that's not a major issue. Anyway, this is an essential for any fans of a good old-fashioned ghost story. M.R James is truly one of the masters of the genre- I found 'The Mezzotint' especially chilling. Read it!C

    25. This is a collection of classic ghost stories. No slasher, blood filled, horror, but the sort that makes you shiver and hide beneath the bed clothes - although I doubt that will keep you safe! My favourite story is 'Oh, Whistle, and I'll come to you, my Lad'. Very nerve jangling!

    26. Short story collection - with a supernatural / ghostly theme. The stories are a mixed bunch. The ones I feel are worth reading are Casting the Runes, Number 13 and Count Magnus. The rest of the stories were reasonable but didn't leave much impression on me.

    27. I quite liked the stories - very atmospheric. I was reading one at work and had to close up in the dark afterwards and imagined all sorts of demonic presences around. It certainly does its job of creeping me the hell out

    28. I read this book b/c it contains some hard to find old ghost stories, which were worth the read. I was also pleasantly surprised with an insightful overview of M. R. James by the editor, Peter Haining, and a wonderful tribute by Christopher Lee.

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