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Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (original 1904; edition 2006)

by M. R. James, Montague Rhodes James

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6791925,222 (4.09)48
Keeping listeners' stomachs twisted in suspense and horror, this collection spooks with the tales of a haunted book; a murder-revealing picture; and a very real meeting with a dead author. Listeners will enjoy M.R. James' best scary stories read by the chilling voice of David Timson.
Title:Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
Authors:M. R. James
Other authors:Montague Rhodes James
Info:Wildside Press (2006), Hardcover, 128 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James (1904)

  1. 10
    The Alabaster Hand And Other Ghost Stories by A. N. L. Munby (Alex_Maybe)
    Alex_Maybe: Short ghost stories directly inspired and written in the same style of M. R. James.

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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Please note that I gave this 3.5 stars but since Goodreads does not have half stars I rounded up to 4 stars.

These are not your typical horror stories. I did like them though. James has a subtle style to his writing and stories. I think that he assumes his readers are going to imagine more things that can be worse than what he will write so a lot of things are left to your imagination in some of the stories.

The stories are the following:

"Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book"-3 stars. Not very scary. And I am going to say I did a lot of wait what while reading this one.

"Lost Hearts"- 5 stars. I loved this one from beginning to end. So good! Maybe because once you as a reader realize what is going on you want to keep the main character safe (who was a boy at the time of the story).

"The Mezzotint"-3 stars. This was honestly pretty boring to me. Not terrible, just not very interesting.

"The Ash-tree"-3 stars. I thought it was an interesting idea that fell kind of flat. This one I had to read twice because I found myself skimming too much to get to the punchline.

"Number 13"-5 stars. This one was really good and I have to say nothing with 13 in it is ever going to be good news!

"Count Magnus"-2.5 stars. Once again, just not very interesting to me and I did find myself skimming this story.

"Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad''-3 stars. I don't understand what was going on in this story at all. I think the unknown is supposed to be scary in this one, but to me it seemed easily gotten rid of (the big bad) that I don't know how scared I was supposed ot be by it.

"The Treasure of Abbot Thomas"-2.5 stars. Wish that maybe Lost Hearts had been the last one for this collection instead of this one. Once again though I understand what M.R. James was trying to do, I just found it lackluster in execution. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Real witches have friends
the kind that come out at night
creeping to your room. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
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 explicit scenes in my horror, and these shorts served to remind me that blood and guts don't necessarily have to play a part. My imagination often supplies something scarier than the author may have intended and I like that. I highly recommend this excellent, (free for Kindle), collection. ( )
  Charrlygirl | Mar 22, 2020 |

Although I'm not big on short stories I thought this might be a fun Halloween-y thing to read. But the first one didn't do anything for me so I won't continue, it's on to something else.
  AngeH | Jan 2, 2020 |
Ghost stories really don't get a heck of a lot better than many of these. I've listed my individual ratings for each of the 8 stories, rating some as low as 3 (surprisingly - one of which has a reputation for being among the best, The Mezzotint) - but they are all worthwhile. The particular mood and atmosphere of the reading has an impact, I suspect - - as does whether or not you have read spoilers.
It is a pure joy to read someone write on a subject about which they are a seasoned professional (M R James being a paleographer and medievalist scholar) - and see them have a little fun with it. You can imagine the ideas coming to him as he poured over some ancient work or location and having his mind take a side trip, perhaps disturbing himself enough to encourage him to share the feeling.
Lost Hearts strikes me as a great vehicle for Tim Burton to get morbid and stylistic with. Number 13 inadvertently became a bedtime story for my 9yr old (she listened to the first 75%, then had me tell her the ending in the morning), and Oh, Whistle is among the best of the batch (illustrated in an overly-revealing way on the cover pictured).

As for anyone who finds the text too antiquated and bogged down with locations, history, and so forth - just trust it to pull you along, don't get hung up - context will give you all you need. If my 9yr old can follow enough to speculate on the resolution, we all can. Looking forward to more.

"Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book" 5/5
"Lost Hearts" 4/5
"The Mezzotint" 3/5
"The Ash-tree" 4/5
"Number 13" 5/5
"Count Magnus" 3/5
"'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad''" 5/5
"The Treasure of Abbot Thomas" 3/4 ( )
  Ron18 | Feb 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
M. R. Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bleiler, Everett F.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McBryde, JamesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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These stories are dedictated to all those who at various times have listened to them.
First words
St Bertrand de Comminges is a decayed town on the spurs of the Pyrenees, not very far from Toulouse, and still nearer to Bagnères-de-Luchon.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is M. R. James' first collection of ghost stories, published in 1904 and contains 8 stories. Some later editions contain both the original collection and More Ghost Stories (1911) in one volume. They should not be combined with this book.
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Keeping listeners' stomachs twisted in suspense and horror, this collection spooks with the tales of a haunted book; a murder-revealing picture; and a very real meeting with a dead author. Listeners will enjoy M.R. James' best scary stories read by the chilling voice of David Timson.

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