'Still as the night was, the mysterious population of the distant moonlit woods was not yet lulled to rest'
The aim of a good ghost story is to make the blood freeze, pleasurably, and this M. R. James achieves to perfection in these wonderful stories. His most atmospheric settings include English country houses and gardens, the north end of the churchyard, the yew-maze in 'Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance' and the unforgettable train journey in 'Casting the Runes'. To each of these stories he brings an eye for the telling detail, an imaginative twist and a narrative tone that is, at least to begin with, urbane and reassuring ...
The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.
James, M. R.
M. R. James, the bookish and precocious son of a curate, was born in Kent in 1862. He studied at Cambridge and remained there for most of his life, becoming director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Provost of King's College and later Vice-Chancellor of the university. A brilliant scholar, he translated the New Testament apocrypha and catalogued many of the university's medieval manuscripts. His first story collection, based on stories he read aloud to friends on Christmas Eve, was published in 1904 as Ghost Stories of an Antiquary and was followed by three more. He died in 1936.