This episode Mike and Will report on the the M.R. James conference, aka ‘Haunted Studies: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James’ and bring you interviews with a range of Jamesian luminaries present at the event.
Ruth impressed us with her paper ‘”If I’m not careful, something of this kind may happen to me!”: M.R. James and the Academic Nightmare’
Ramsey Campbell (ramseycampbell.com)
As England’s most celebrated living horror author, Ramsey Campbell needs little introduction. His opening keynote ‘M.R. James and the Ghost Story Tradition’ got the conference off to a flying start.
Steve Manthorp (manthorp.co.uk)
Steve was at the conference exhibiting his fascinating full-size dolls house based on ‘The Haunted Doll’s House’ by M.R. James. You can find our more about Steve at his website and at ADEPT.
Dr Andrew Smith (shef.ac.uk)
Andrew is Reader in Nineteenth Century English Literature at the University of Sheffield, and provided the day’s final keynote on ‘M.R. James and the Ghosts of World War 1′.
Richard Mansfield (mansfielddark.com)
Richard is one half of Mansfield Dark, who have been impressing us for a number of years with their haunting shadow puppet films of M.R. James stories, two of which were shown at the conference. Find out more about these at their website.
This episode Mike and Will pack their sleeping bags and bed down for ‘A Night in King’s College Chapel’ by M.R. James.
The episode also features an exclusive interview with James Drewett and Richard Svensson, creators of ‘Monsters and Miscreants’ a new M.R. James-themed card game available to order now. You can also watch an unboxing video of the same game featuring your humble hosts, Will and Mike, recorded live in Will’s kitchen. The glamour!
The Univeristy Pitt Club
The final fragment of this story was found written on Pitt Club note paper, hinting at where James may have been sitting when he wrote it.
‘Dare to be a Daniel’ (Youtube)
It is likely that this is the sort of thing James was afraid of when he makes his sniffy comments about ‘congregational singing’!
Reuben and the well (Biblehub.com)
Genesis 37:29 – the scene from the bible that Reuben is supposed to be representing in his window when ‘on duty’.
Moses and the Manna from heaven (biblegateway.com)
Exodus 16 – where the Manna comes from which the naughty children of Israel are throwing at Reuben in the story.
Biblical typology (theopedia.com)
When Reuben says “I may only be a type…” he is referring to this.
The most misunderstood woman in the bible (todayschristianwoman.com)
In this story Job’s wife is portrayed as an unsympathetic nagging tyrant, a traditional interpretation of her character. However, more modern minds have reassessed her character and come to a different conclusion.
Window of opportunity (spectator.co.uk)
During the episode Mike mentions the surprising story of how King’s College Chapel got it’s famous west window. This is it!
The windows themselves (mostly at therosewindow.com):
What could be more worthy of a Christmas episode than a ghost story? Answer: twelve ghost stories! This week Mike and Will find plenty of seasonal cheer in the scribblings of a 15th century monk from Yorkshire, whose collected tales of wandering spirits Monty transcribed in 1922. Expect lashings of purgatorial terrors, a stocking-full of redemption and a whole load of bad wassailing, ghostly and otherwise*, as we explore Twelve Medieval Ghost Stories.
The Byland Abbey Project has all the stories, plus translation notes and commentary on each story. Invaluable!
Ghosts in Medieval Yorkshire, by Jacqueline Simpson, is a fantastic article, not least for Jacqueline’s analysis of the different roots of James’ ghost stories and these medieval tales.
Mark Gatiss talks about medieval manuscripts with a curator at the Fitzwilliam Museum in his 2013 documentary Ghostwriter (contains images some listeners will hopefully find disturbing).
Death and the Afterlife – a British Library article with examples of medieval Books of Hours and other context for understanding the 15th century view of mortality, purgatory and salvation.
Underrated BBC Radio 4 discussion show Beyond Belief (it’s great, even for atheists!) ran an episode on purgatory, which may not be available to listeners outside of the UK.