In this bumper episode we examine M.R. James’s favourite story by his favourite author, ‘The Familiar’ by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu! Praise doesn’t get much higher than that, but is it all it is cracked up to be? If you are a fan of owls, diminutive, angry men in fur caps and incredibly long sentences, then you are in for a treat.
This episodes artwork comes curtesy of M. Grant Kellermeyer of Oldstyle Tales Press.
- Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Wikipedia)
Some biographical information on the man himself.
- ‘In a glass darkly’ by Le Fanu (Wikipedia)
This is the volume of ghost stories in which this story most famously appears, featuring the ‘occult detective’ Dr. Martin Hesselius.
- M.R. James on J. S. Le Fanu (Ghosts and Scholars)
An article based on the presentation on Le Fanu that M.R. James gave to the Royal Institution of Great Britain on March 16th, 1923.
- Haunted Holidays – The Terrible Occult Detectives (Tor.com)
A very amusing essay on the ‘occult detective’ in literature, which singles out Le Fanu’s Dr Hesselius as the first occult detective.
- Reminiscences of a bachelor by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Swan River Press)
We mention this title in our interview with Brian J. Showers. The book features ‘The Watcher’ and other stories, as well as its original companion piece ‘The Fatal Bride’ and notes on both stories.
Also mentioned in this episode
- Monsters – Don’t treat them gently! (Pleasing Terror Games)
The new M.R. James board game from friend of the show, James Drewitt.
- ‘No Diggin ‘ere’ and ‘Barchestering’ T-shirts (redbubble.com)
Two new MRJ T-shirts from our regular reader Debbie Wedge! Also available as baby-grows, mugs, phone cases etc.