Due to illness we haven’t managed to record the next full episode yet, but in the meantime here’s a little something we hope you’ll enjoy, an exclusive reading of ‘Sredni Vashtar’ by M.R. James’s literary contemporary Saki (aka H.H. Munro). This reading was recorded specially for the podcast by Hamish Symington! Thanks Hamish!
If you enjoyed this reading then many of Saki’s short stories are freely available on Project Gutenberg. Also, for some thoroughly excellent podcast readings of Saki’s other stories check out the website of Richard Crowest.
Alchemy! Enlightenment! Revolution!
… Britain in the late 17th and early 18th centuries had it all. Mike recommends two books set around Oxford and Cambridge in this period, both with a pleasing mixture of science, swashbuckling and genre fun: An Instance of the Fingerpost, by Iain Pears, and Quicksilver, by Neal Stephenson.
The Methuen Treaty (Wikipedia)
James drops a lot of historical details into his description of 18th Century college life. An example of this is his reference to the MEthuen Treaty with Portugal, which included trade regulations that allows wines to be imported from Portugal without tax.
Sheila Hodgson (suttonelms.org.uk)
Will first encountered this story in the form of ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, a 1977 radio play by Sheila Hodgson that was broadcast as part of a series of plays based on the ideas mentioned by M.R. James in ‘Stories I have tried to write’.
Arthur Gray aka Ingulphus (Ghosts & Scholars)
Arthur Gray was a contemporary of M.R. James at Cambridge, where Gray was Master of Jesus College. Between 1910 and 1925 he published a number of ghost stories set at Jesus College under the pseudonym ’Ingulphus’.