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Stories that inspired M.R. James

Twelve tales of terror recommended by the master of the genre!

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Episode 67 – Through a Glass Darkly conference report

Stained glass window, YorkThis episode it’s conference report time! We’ve just returned from Through a Glass Darkly, an M.R. James conference which brought together authors, academics and fans in ghost-haunted York for a 2-day Jamesfest of epic proportions!

The episode features interviews with:

  • Conference organisers Paul M. Chapman, Theresa Dudley and Mark Jones, who told us about how the chance discovery that M.R. James visited York in 1898 sparked the inspiration for the conference.
  • Writer and regular Ghosts and Scholars contributor Mark Valentine, who presented on M.R. James’s scholar protagonist and what they tell us about James, his life and audience.
  • Writer John Reppion, who had just presented on the challenges of adapting ‘Ghost Stories of an Antiquary’ for the graphic novel form.
  • Author Helen Grant, who presented the fascinating true story of Father Reinhardt, the Steinfeld monk who travelled to England to view Steinfeld’s missing stained glass windows, the whereabouts of which was revealed in ‘The Treasure of Abbott Thomas’.
  • Professor Darryl Jones, who told us about his exciting plans for the first full-blown M.R. James biography for over 30 years!

The podcast also features Will and Mike’s thoughts on the rest of the conference, including walking in the footsteps of M.R. James for a stained glass tour of two York churches, and performances from Robert Lloyd Parry and Patrick Smith. You can learn more about all the people we mention at the Friends of Count Magnus website.

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Episode 34 – Marcilly-le-Hayer (with Helen Grant)

Le Chateau de Chavaudon, Marcilly-le-HayerThis episode Will and Mike are thrilled to be joined by top M.R. James scholar and author Helen Grant to help them struggle their way through unfinished M.R. James story fragment ‘Marcilly-le-Hayer‘.

Thanks to our readers this episode, Tom Hemmings and Debbie Wedge.

Show notes:

  • Marcilly-le-Hayer map (Monty’s World)
    You can view the eponymous French town on our mapping app Monty’s World.
  • Postcards of Marcilly-le-Hayer (www.famille-bretet.net)
    This website contains a great number of period postcards and photos of Marcilly-le-Hayer.
  • Story notes by Rosemary Pardoe  (Ghosts & Scholars)
    Rosemary Pardoe has provides some very useful notes on this story, including translations of the French passages.
  • Places I have tried to visit: Marcilly-le-Hayer (Helen Grant)
    This is the excellent article that prompted us to invite Helen to be our co-host. First published in Ghosts & Scholars, this article describes Helen’s visit to Marcilly-le-Hayer and her search for the locations featured in the story.
  • ‘Caroline de Litchfield’ by Donald Tumasonis (Ghosts & Scholars)
    In this article Tumasonis examines the real novel which James features in this story (albeit with a slightly mangled title!).
  • M.R. James and France by Percy Lubbock (Google books)
    Percy Lubbock’s all-to breif memoir of M.R. James features some revealing and entertaining insights into some of James’ many holidays in France.
  • Stories I have tried to write by M.R. James (The Albion Chronicles)
    In his essay ‘Stories I have tried to write’ M.R. James describes various stories which never reached publication, including one which is unmistakably ‘Marcilly-le-Hayer’.
  • A Whisper in the Ear by Sheila Hodgson (Youtube)
    Between 1976 and 1992 Sheila Hodgson wrote a number of stories for radio which were inspired by the stories mentioned in M.R. James’ essay ‘Stories I have tried to write’. This one is based on the fragment of ‘Marcilly-e-Hayer’ mentioned in that essay. The others can be purchases in ebook form.
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