Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
First edition cover
|Author||M. R. James|
|Genre||Horror short stories|
|Media type||Print (hardback)|
|Followed by||More Ghost Stories|
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary is the title of M. R. James' first collection of ghost stories, published in 1904 (some had previously appeared in magazines). Some later editions under this title contain both the original collection and its successor, More Ghost Stories (1911), combined in one volume.
Montague Rhodes James (1862–1936) was a paleographer and medievalist scholar; Provost of King's College, Cambridge. He wrote many of his ghost stories to be read aloud in the long tradition of spooky Christmas Eve tales. His stories often use rural settings, with a quiet, scholarly protagonist getting caught up in the activities of supernatural forces. The details of horror are almost never explicit, the stories relying on a gentle, bucolic background to emphasise the awfulness of the otherworldly intrusions.
Contents of the original edition
- "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book"
- "Lost Hearts"
- "The Mezzotint"
- "The Ash-tree"
- "Number 13"
- "Count Magnus"
- "'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad'"
- "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas"
After Jonathan Miller adapted "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" for Omnibus in 1968, several stories from the collection were adapted as the BBC's yearly Ghost Story for Christmas strand, including "Lost Hearts", "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas", "The Ash-tree" and "Number 13". "Whistle and I'll Come to You" was also heavily adapted by Neil Cross for broadcast on Christmas Eve 2010.