M. R. James

 

Montague Rhodes James was born at Goodnestone Parsonage, Kent, England on 1 August 1862, the son of an Anglican clergyman. In 1876, he became a scholar at Eton and, in 1882, went up to King’s College, Cambridge where he became a fellow in 1887. In 1905, he became Provost of King’s, a post he left in 1918 to become Provost of Eton where he remained until his death on 12 June 1939

 

Although  he was a renowned medieval scholar, it is for his ghost stories that James will be best remembered.  Following an English tradition, the tales were first penned as Christmas Eve entertainments read by James himself to gatherings of friends. James' ghost stories were published in a series of collections: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1911), A Thin Ghost and Others (1919), and A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories (1925).

 

His work, influenced by the writing of his predecessor, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, perfects the key elements of the modern ghost story, using implication and suggestion to describe supernatural events, leaving space for the reader’s  imagination.