Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Happy Birthday, M.R. James

We celebrate what would have been the 144th birthday of historian and author Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936), long remembered for his series of ghost stories. Following English tradition, many of his 30+ stories were written and read aloud during Christmas Eve gatherings of friends.

His introduction to ghosts had taken place at an early age, describing it in an Evening Standard article in 1931:
What first interested me in ghosts? This I can tell you quite definitely. In my childhood I chanced to see a toy Punch and Judy set, with figures cut out in cardboard. One of these was The Ghost. It was a tall figure habited in white with an unnaturally long and narrow head, also surrounded with white, and a dismal visage. Upon this my conceptions of a ghost were based, and for years it permeated my dreams.

In celebration of James’s life and work, we invite you to read a few of his stories (some of our favorites) and enjoy!

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