'I was conscious of a most horrible smell of mould, and of a cold kind of face pressed against my own...'
Considered by many to be the most terrifying writer in English, M. R. James was an eminent scholar who spent his entire adult life in the academic surroundings of Eton and Cambridge. His classic supernatural tales draw on the terrors of the everyday, in which documents and objects unleash terrible forces, often in closed rooms and night-time settings where imagination runs riot. Lonely country houses, remote inns, ancient churches or the manuscript collections of great libraries provide settings for unbearable menace, from creatures seeking retribution and harm. These stories have lost none of their power to unsettle and disturb.
This edition presents all of James's published ghost stories, including the unforgettable 'Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad' and 'Casting the Runes', and an appendix of James's writings on the ghost story. Darryl Jones's introduction and notes provide a fascinating insight into James's background and his mastery of the genre he made his own.
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Darryl Jones's other publications include Horror: A Thematic History in Fiction and Film (London: Arnold; New York: OUP, 2002).
"Many of these stories are time-tested classics, and this volume, which also includes an informative introduction and notes by Darryl Jones, is indispensable for any fan of supernatural fiction." Publishers Weekly
"James's stories succeed, I think, precisely because they hover at the margins of the unknown. His memorable images recall the night-terrors of childhood: the glimpsed figure on the lonely beach, the malevolent voice that whispers in your ear on a dark staircase. James's watchword was "reticence"; the half-seen, the implied, the threat of violence frighten us at a deeper level than mere gore." - New Humanist
"This collection is perfect both for longstanding M R James fans or those new to his chilling tales." --The Oldie
"An outstanding new edition... exemplary." --The Independent
"There is an inimitable cumulative pleasure in reading these stories in succession and feeling their related horrors throng about you." --The Telegraph
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