'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.
Darryl Jones's other publications include Horror: A Thematic History in Fiction and Film (London: Arnold; New York: OUP, 2002), Horror Stories: Classic Tales from Hoffmann to Hodgson (OUP, 2014) and, forthcoming for OUP, Arthur Conan Doyle's Gothic Tales.
Introduction Select Bibliography Chronology of M. R. James Canon Alberic's Scrap-book Lost Hearts The Mezzotint The Ash-Tree Number 13 Count Magnus 'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad' The Treasure of Abbot Thomas A School Story The Rose Garden The Tractate Middoth Casting the Runes The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral Martin's Close Mr Humphreys and His Inheritance The Residence at Whitminster The Diary of Mr Poynter An Episode of Cathedral History The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance Two Doctors The Haunted Dolls' House The Uncommon Prayer-Book A Neighbour's Landmark A View from a Hill A Warning to the Curious An Evening's Entertainment There was a Man Dwelt by a Churchyard Rats After Dark in the Playing Fields Wailing Well The Experiment The Malice of Inanimate Objects A Vignette Appendix: M. R. James on Ghost Stories Explanatory Notes