It has come to my attention that some of the MRJ tales I have linked to in the past seem to have been removed recently. I am unsure why this had occurred but will endeavour to fix all broken links as soon as I have the time.
Apologies for any inconvenience and interruption to your reading pleasure caused in the meantime.
The broken links on the READ page have now been redirected.
Additionally, I have added M. R. James’ 1931 essay “Ghosts Treat Them Gently” to the site itself.
The latest issue of Fortean Times (#292) features the talented Mr. Robert Lloyd Parry in the guise of James on it’s cover and contains a very enjoyable article written by Mr. Parry about James, his life and works.
If you’re not already a subscriber or regular reader of FT (which you really should be), I certainly recommend picking up the issue.
“He had no time for fiction that sought to be nauseating, but story after story demonstrates his willingness to be as frightening as possible Nor was his definition of the ghostly confined to revenants. His tales swarm with spiders either giant or multitudinous, immense, half-glimpsed insects, tentacled demons and even worse familiars to be found down wells, or most nightmarish of all, under your pillow”
(Ramsey Campbell in Fortean Times #292, September 2012)
Children are being invited to complete a previously unknown unfinished work by ghost story writer MR James to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.
James, who was brought up in Suffolk and worked as a medieval scholar at Cambridge University, often featured East Anglian locations in his stories.
The competition, which is being organised by Suffolk Coast, will be judged by novelist Susan Hill. She is best known for her ghost novel The Woman in Black.
Titled The Game Of Bear, the unfinished story was discovered in the archives of King’s College, Cambridge.
The handwritten manuscript concerns the curious case of Henry Purdue, a man preyed upon by a sinister cousin who considers herself somehow wronged by the family.
More information on the BBC site.
Full story and details of how to enter at
Today marks the150th anniversary of the birth of Montague Rhodes James, scholar, antiquarian and master of the English ghost story.
Many Happy Returns to you, Monty.
A few timely tributes to M. R. James from around the web:
Also, taking place in Bury St Edmunds this evening:
An evening looking at the works of famous author M R James, known as the great orginator of the “antiquarian ghost story” and who had close connections with, and lived in, Suffolk.
The evening includes a reading, tea and cake.
More info at http://www.suffolkcircle.com/
The latest edition of Ghosts & Scholars – the M. R. James newsletter mentioned a new album which might well be of interest to fans of James’ work.
THE FUTURE KINGS OF ENGLAND – WHO IS THIS WHO IS COMING?
The Future Kings of England 4th album is based on the fantastically creepy short story ‘Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You my Lad’ by M R James.
One could say this album forms the final part of a trilogy starting with our second album ‘The Fate of Old Mother Orvis’ and our third ‘The Viewing Point’ concerning Suffolk both in it’s wonderful landscape and folklore.
The album is available via Backwater Records
Reading of the album reminded me of another Jamsian record of a few years past.
THE TRIPLE TREE – GHOSTS
The Triple Tree consists of Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus) and Andrew King aided and abetted by M, Autumn Grieve, Kris Force, Guy Harries, Renee Rosen and John Murphy, and is an extended homage to the supernatural fiction of M. R. James (with a certain nod to his notable studies in the New Testament Apocrypha) the greatest ghost story writer in the English language, and the finest medievalist of his generation. Join Dr Wakeford and the Rev. King as they search for the Three Crowns, attempt to Cast the Runes, purchase The Mezzotint, follow Mr Abney’s “remarkable enlightenment” in Lost Hearts, and join Count Magnus on the “Black Crusade”! Winter evenings will never be the same again…
The album is available via Cold Spring Records
On February 23rd 2012 the Royal Mail released a stamp featuring James as part its Britons of Distinction series
Britons of Distinction
Issue Date – 23rd February 2012
Britons of Distinction celebrates another selection of distinguished individuals from the realms of science and technology, architecture, politics and the arts, who are all celebrating anniversaries in 2012.
These Britons were born with very different gifts, but they shared a determination to follow them. Rubbing shoulders with the architects and musicians are the social reformer, the ironmonger from a small Devon town who changed the history of engineering, the craftswoman, the brilliant mathematician, the secret agent and the Cambridge don who created some of the most terrifying ghost stories ever written.
The last time Royal Mail brought together ten different individuals and their achievements was with Eminent Britons in 2009. This was one of the most popular issues of that stamp year and came about when Royal Mail discovered a number of important, but unrelated, anniversaries.
Initial research for 2012 soon demonstrated that, once again, there were many significant anniversaries allowing Royal Mail to assemble a distinguished list of those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries of specific achievements in 2012.
“The peculiar genius of M. R. James, and his greatest power, lies in the convincing evocation of weird, malignant and preternatural phenomena such as I have instanced. It is safe to say that few writers, dead or living, have equaled him in this formidable necromancy and perhaps no one has excelled him.”
(Clark Ashton Smith – The Weird Works of M. R. James, 1934)
“M.R. James joins the brisk, the light, & the commonplace to the weird about as well as anyone could do it — but if another tried the same method, the chances would be ten to one against him. The most valuable element in him — as a model — is his way of weaving a horror into the every-day fabric of life & history — having it grow naturally out of the myriad conditions of an ordinary environment…”
(H. P. Lovecraft to Emil Petaja, 6 March 1935)
M. R. James, was an English mediaeval scholar and provost of King’s College, Cambridge (1905–1918), and of Eton College (1918–1936). He is best remembered for his ghost stories, which are regarded as among the best in the genre. James redefined the ghost story for the new century by abandoning many of the formal Gothic clichés of his predecessors and using more realistic contemporary settings. However, James’s protagonists and plots tend to reflect his own antiquarian interests. Accordingly, he is known as the originator of the “antiquarian ghost story”.
The goal of this site is to provide an easily accessible online resource for anyone with an interest in James and his works.
mrjames.org has no official connection to the estate of M. R. James or to any current copyright holder of his works.