Montague Rhodes James, better known as M. R. James, (August 1, 1862 - June 12, 1936) was a British scholar, story teller and writer. He is best known for his ghost stories and for developing some of the elements that are still used in that genre. His writings influenced H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell and John Betjeman. James also influenced radio, film, television and music works.
Most of his ghost stories were originally written to be read aloud to friends.
Ghost story anthologies
- Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904) The book contains the following short stories:
- More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1911) The book contains the following short stories:
- A Thin Ghost and Others (1919) The book contains the following short stories:
- A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories (1925) The book contains the following short stories:
Other short stories
- "After Dark in the Playing Fields" (1924)
- "There Was A Man Dwelt by a Churchyard" (1924)
- "Wailing Well" (1928)
- "Rats" (1929)
- "The Experiment" (1931)
- "The Malice of Inanimate Objects" (1933)
- "A Vignette" (1936)
- "The Fenstanton Witch" (undated manuscript, published posthumously in 1990)
- Abbeys (1926)
- Suffolk and Norfolk (1930)
- The Five Jars (1922)
- Forty-Two Stories (1930) (an anthology of short stories by Hans Christian Andersen, M.R. James translated the stories and wrote the book's introduction)
M.R. James also wrote and edited numerous scholarly works on Bible studies and medieval English history, which were intended for specialists rather than for the general reader.
As well as writing his own ghost stories, M.R. James also championed the works of the Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu (1844-1873). James edited an edition of Le Fanu's Madame Crow's Ghost, which was published in 1923, and en edition of Le Fanu's Uncle Silas, which was published in 1926. James wrote introductions for both of those books. In his introduction to Madame Crow's Ghost, M.R. James describes Sheridan Le Fanu as, "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories".