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Old 06-16-2017   #21
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

A Warning to the Curious and Count Magnus for me. It helps both have bleak endings with severe and unjust consequences for the main characters.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
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Old 09-12-2017   #22
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story


'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-12-2017   #23
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

Few authors have robbed me of a sound nightís sleep as thoroughly as M.R.James. Here are some of my favorites:
Canon Albericís Scrap Book
Oh, Whistle , and Iíll Come to you, My Lad
The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

"For he who passes the gateways always wins a shadow, and never again can he be alone."
- H.P. Lovecraft

My Goodreads Profile
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Old 09-12-2017   #24
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

I see that Count Magnus is a favorite among many here. For me as well. It's got an interesting proto-Cthulhu mythos vibe, too.

The other M. R. James story I deeply enjoy is The Ash-Tree, which, if I remember correctly, was apparently James' way to deal with his own arachnophobia. The story reminds me somewhat of Horacio Quiroga's The feather pillow

Anyway, people die...
-Current 93


I am simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
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Old 09-12-2017   #25
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

The Feather Pillow...man what a ride

They were watching, out there past men's knowing, where stars are drowning and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea.Ē
― Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
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Old 09-12-2017   #26
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

I felt that M. R. James never received the widespread recognition he deserves. To me, he fills the gap as the Grand Master of the weird tale between Poe and Lovecraft. I know there are other excellent writers in this period, but for me, no one matches the consistently superb bibliography that he produced in his era.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
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Old 09-12-2017   #27
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

I think until recently James was better known in Britain than Lovecraft. He managed to stay in popular culture, unlike Machen, Blackwood, etc.

For sheer consistency of excellence it's practically impossible to beat that Ghost Stories of an Antiquary collection.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-13-2017   #28
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
I think until recently James was better known in Britain than Lovecraft. He managed to stay in popular culture, unlike Machen, Blackwood, etc.
Very true. James is undeniably great but I don't regard him as the be-all and end-all of the ghost story as he is too often portrayed. It would be nice if the attention the media lavishes on James was spread around a bit to other writers of the golden age of weird fiction. There have been at least three TV documentaries about James. What chance of even one on Blackwood, Machen or Hodgson?
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Old 09-13-2017   #29
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

Back in the mid00s when I was just starting to gain an interest in delving into ghost stories, there was a BBC documentary about ghost writers and Blackwood was featured for a while. There was old television footage of him reading. MR James was also featured but I don't remember who else was profiled or what writers were talking.

Other BBC documentaries I remember: a Tolkien/Mervyn Peake one. A series (or was it?) about disaster/dystopia science fiction. Muriel Gray presented a MR James and a Poe documentary. A Saki documentary.

All of these on BBC 4, which used to have lots of interesting things but sort of died several years ago and I doubt I've missed much.

BBC radio did a Machen and an Aickman documentary both in the late 00s probably.

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Old 09-13-2017   #30
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Re: MR James: Pioneer of the Modern Ghost Story

Quote Originally Posted by Robin Davies View Post
There have been at least three TV documentaries about James. What chance of even one on Blackwood, Machen or Hodgson?
Each of those men had amazing lives ripe for a frame documentary narrative and are as vital as James. It would be grand, but I fear that today these figures are relegated in our culture to specialist interests for fringe hobbyists. M. R. James and H. P. Lovecraft are more established authors many outside our circles are likely to have heard of.

The four specialists I see for my various mental disasters all know of James, and only one knows of Lovecraft. Supernatural fiction comes up a lot in our conversations. I feel I am teaching them.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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