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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 43 – The Malice of Inanimate Objects

Malice of Inanimate Objects by Alisdair Wood

In this episode Mike and Will batten down the hatches and prepare for the onslaught of ‘The Malice of Inanimate Objects‘ by M.R. James.

Readings for this episode are taken from Curious Creatures, Robert Lloyd Parry’s excellent audiobook which features a selection of lesser-heard M.R. James stories. Many thanks to Robert for giving us permission to use them! The full CD can (and should) be purchased from nunkie.co.uk

Thanks to Alisdair Wood who provided the awesome artwork that accompanies this episode. Head over to woodi.co.uk for more M.R. James inspired artwork for sale.

Links

  • The Malice of Inanimate Objects by M.R. James (Ghosts and Scholars)
    This story can be read in full online at the Ghosts and Scholars website. See the notes at the bottom for links to the various translations of the Brothers Grimm’s story about the unfortunate, or very wicked, Squire Korbes.
  • Resistentialism and Animism (wikipedia)
    Think that objects are out to get you? You’re not alone, as Paul Jennings discussed in his humorous 1948 Spectator article on what he coined ‘Resistentialism‘. But attributing human attribute to non-human entities is nothing new, see this wikipedia article on Animism in religion.
  • The Malice of Inanimate Objects short film (Youtube)
    Want to see a man crack an egg on his own face, and worse? This M.R. James short by Youtuber Alan OW Barnes takes it’s inspiration from M.R. James and the tale of Squire Korbes mentioned in this story.
  • Death Bed: The Bed that Eats (Youtube)
    Cited as ‘a strong contender for worst movie ever made’, this 70’s horror movie caught Mike’s eye as example of the inanimate object idea being taken to places it probably shouldn’t. Warning: contains bad acting.
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Episode 33 – Mark Gatiss’ The Tractate Middoth

In this special Christmas Bonus episode, Mike and Will give their thoughts on Mark Gatiss’ adaptation of ‘The Tractate Middoth’ by M.R. James, which aired on UK TV last night along with Gatiss’ documentary ‘M.R. James: Ghost Writer’.

Please note that this episode contains spoilers about both programmes so if you are planning on watching either then make sure you do so before listening to this episode!

Hats off to Mr Gatiss for providing us with a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment!

If you want to learn more about the original story then look no further than our own Episode 11 which examined The Tractate Middoth in detail.

Finally, if you enjoyed Robert Lloyd Parry’s bravura performance as M.R. James in the documentary, don’t forget to check out his tour dates or buy a dvd over at his website nunkie.co.uk.

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