Monday, January 4, 2016
M.R. James (1862 - 1936) was a medieval scholar at Cambridge. He wrote many ghost stories that were to be read on Christmas Eve, a fine Victorian tradition. His stories often take place in the country, in old houses, ancient churches, or dusty libraries. The heroes are usually quiet professor-types, rational and utterly unable to take in the supernatural happenings. The stories are never gory but slowly build a menace that is really unsettling, especially in contrast to the quiet country setting and harmless scholarly activity. The vocabulary is somewhat challenging, a plus for word fans.