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Old 09-20-2012, 04:48 AM   #7
fantasyfan
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I nominate The Complete Complete Ghost Stories. byn M.R.James. It is available right here at Mobile Read!

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=140730


He was a great--perhaps the greatest--master of the macabre. His stories have been described in a review from The New Yorker as follows:

"If M. R. James is remembered now, and honored beyond the bounds of his university, it is not because of his scholarly deeds but precisely because of his talent for applying the very highest calibre of jolt. All of his stories have now been freshly gathered in “Collected Ghost Stories” (Oxford), edited by Darryl Jones. We also get a compendium of James’s reflections on the art that he practiced. Our response to ghost stories, Virginia Woolf argued, “is a refined and spiritualized essence of fear.” Most of James’s heroes are like James. Dons, obsessive bibliophiles, and bachelors. James summons unholy terror from the very texts and objects that concern him. Not for him the mad gothic landscape. The stories were written, so to speak, in front of a mirror, by a man hoping to drown the tiny, shivering thrills of the chronic bookworm with the low snarl of a more universal emotion, that of dread. Despite the titles of James’s books, only rarely does he deal in the mere emanation. What he fears most is surface contact. What truly provoked him, and what filtered into his stories, was not so much misogyny as a more basic, mortal panic at gazing into the face of the unknown. . . . A.E. Housman used poetry to touch on loves that he had lost or never dared to enact; M. R. James used ghost stories to explore fears of which he could not otherwise speak."

I would agree with that assessment but would add that I am reminded very much of the inner psychological horror of Sheridan Le Fanu--but without the Gothic context of the Irish writer.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 09-20-2012 at 04:52 AM.
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