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. By contrast to the gothic tales of predecessors, James's 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. His tales can thus be said to have derived the subgenre of the antiquarian ghost story.
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.
- Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 240.
- "A Guide to Supernatural Fiction". Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- James, M.R. (1987). Michael Cox, ed. Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- A Ghost Story for Christmas, imagedissectors.com