Stories that inspired M.R. James

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Halloween treat: our (idiosyncratic) profile of Monty

October 29, 2013 | News | Comments (4)

Specially for Halloween, we’ve profiled MR James for the excellent biographical site The Fertile Fact.

#21. “Something of this kind may happen to me!”: MR James

Mike Taylor and Will Ross host A Podcast to the Curious, a podcast dedicated to the ghost stories of Montague Rhodes James (1862–1936). With components that might include (but not limited to) desolate Suffolk coastlines, eerie European cathedrals and (almost invariably) sleeping ghosts of an antiquarian nature, James’ fiction casts the past as a Pandora’s box of horrors best left alone (a strange stance given his day job as a medieval scholar). To many, he’s also usurped Dickens as laureate of ghoulish Christmas (thanks in no small part to the BBC’s yuletide tradition of screening adaptations of his stories during the 1970s). A writer more comfortable with the past than the present, he’d be looking for kindred bookish spirits were he around today say Mike and Will, who select five things about the modern world he might have found to his archaic tastes.

Read the rest of our profile at The Fertile Fact – let us know what you think!


  1. A Rat In The Wall says:

    James does seem to have been a massive nerd – but I doubt he would have liked to be called such, unless it was for a good jest. I see him scoffing and reprimanding us – Monty is a fervent enthusiast!

    I’m not too sure if he would have liked the Internet, though. It’d be too soulless and modern, it isn’t a nice hefty book or catalogue. He might have owned a PC, though, I think he would recognize the benefits of a good, quick search engine. I like to think he’d secretly join a few forums and have flamewars about Gothic architecture.

    But most importantly – WHERE IS PART 2 OF WARNING TO THE CURIOUS????

  2. Good work on the short Monty biog – just right. I love the idea of him as a geek.

    I’m afraid, though, that I have to second that query: it’s very hard to concentrate on anything whilst waiting for part 2 of W2tC. It seems hardly fair in the circs, but I’m going to say it anyway: get a move on chaps!

  3. Kim says:

    Ignore the impatient & impellent crowd, Mssrs. William & Michael. History — and need it be said, the rightfully unknown parts of history in particular? — gets told in its own time. And personally, the tale people are slavering after the second half of was not one of my own favorites, before. (Obviously, open to change…)

    I’ll take (your expected customary) quality over immediate gratification any day.

    East Anglia-wise, I watched the first round of “Lovejoy” just now, under the worst plausible circumstances you got, and would like to credit you hideous frelling pair with identifying “in jest” one of the most horrific, terrifying, ab-natural, and rightfully-suppressed weird fiction series of all time.

    Miserably sobbing myself into terrified sleeplessness,
    you twee-mongering bastards,


  4. Looking forward to reading more. Great blog article. Really Great….

    Looking forward to reading more. Great blog article. Really Great….

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