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Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

M. R. James

Book Overview: 

“Ghost Stories of an Antiquary” was written as two collections, presented here as two volumes in a single work. There is a short author’s preface before the first story in each volume.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .As with Sir Matthew, so with Sir Richard—dead and black in his bed!

A pale and silent party of guests and servants gathered under the window when the news was known. Italian poisoners, Popish emissaries, infected air—all these and more guesses were hazarded, and the Bishop of Kilmore looked at the tree, in the fork of whose lower boughs a white tom-cat was crouching, looking down the hollow which years had gnawed in the trunk. It was watching something inside the tree with great interest.

Suddenly it got up and craned over the hole. Then a bit of the edge on which it stood gave way, and it went slithering in. Everyone looked up at the noise of the fall.

It is known to most of us that a cat can cry; but few of us have heard, I hope, such a yell as came out of the trunk of the great ash. Two or three screams there were—the witnesses are not sure which—and then a slight and muffled noise. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is M. R. James first book of ghost stories, containing eight of his best. I believe six of these eight are among the twenty best tales of ghostly terror ever written--and the other two tales are very good too. If you like traditional ghost stories that unnerve the reader subtly by suggestion...more

I love these ghost stories!!!

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary is the first collection of stories by M. R. James, published in 1904, although some had been previously published in magazines. The next collection from 1922 is often nowadays combined with this volume. Montague Rhodes James was a noted medieval scholar and provost o...more

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M.R. James  
A fantastic collection of creepy atmospheric horror tales written back in the day. I felt that these stories lost nothing with the passage of time. In fact, I appreciated the fact that these tales weren't gory at all. I guess I've gotten used to expli...more

This volume contains eight tasty little nuggets of supernatural horror that I found very satisfying. In each of them the story is told second or even third hand by a genial narrator whose acquaintances, who are themselves of a decidedly scholarly bent, have been the victims of supernatural intrus...more

There's something to be said for horror that's still creepy after a century passes, and M.R. James provides it by the bucketload in this collection. Part of my attachment must be put down to nostalgia - growing up, the only horror I could usually get my hands on was the kind that came in huge ant...more

Mark Fisher, in his erudite examination of horror, The Weird and the Eerie, notes that eeriness is characterized either by a failure of absence or a failure of presence. I would posit that M.R. James arguable opus, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, is full of textbook examples of each. It would be s...more

For classic ghost stories, these were not too bad, but a few of the stories I didn't know what was happening. I do have three favorites: Lost Hearts, The Ash-Tree, and Number 13. Nothing truly scary within these pages. Giving it three stars.

I'd read some of these before and most are excellent. James has an imagination that can draw you in...and then take advantage of your vulnerabilities to things that may or may not go bump in the night.

You will as always find reliably creepy stories from James. I can recommend this tome (or is it...more

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