Morgan Library Ghost Stories

Morgan Library Ghost Stories

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FREE for a limited time

Morgan Library Ghost Stories

Morgan Library Ghost Stories

Read

FREE for a limited time

Synopsis

The patron saint - if that's the right word; perhaps guiding spirit? - behind these witty and literate ghost stories is M. R. James (1862-1936). He is primarily known at The Pierpont Morgan Library and at similar august homes of learning as a redoubtable scholar and bibliographer. To many more devotees around the world, though, he is generally acclaimed as the author of some of the most economical, clearly focused, concise, and elegant ghost stories every written. Only the English languageserves this genre so well, and James's English craft is at the top of anyone's short list of favorites. Monty James enjoyed a long and happy professional relationship with the Morgan Library. He did so, in a sense, only in spirit: he never crossed the Atlantic, and he feared that he would not survive crossing New York's streets. His name was much in evidence when the 150th anniversary of Pierpont Morgan's birth was celebrated several years ago. His work on medieval manuscripts was the focal point of an exhibition.

Excerpt

This volume of Morgan Library Ghost Stories had its origin in an exhibition entitled "Pierpont Morgan's Manuscripts and M. R. James," sponsored by the Library in the spring of 1987 as a part of the 150th anniversary celebration of Pierpont Morgan's birth. In a lecture with the same title as the exhibition, given at the Library on 27 May 1987, I explored in some detail the work done by Montague Rhodes James, the foremost medieval manuscript scholar of his day, on the first, and still the only, published catalogue of Morgan Library manuscripts. Important as James's work on this and other catalogues was in developing techniques for the study of the medieval book, he is known far more widely as the author of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary and several similar collections. Even people who are completely unaware of his scholarly attainments and know nothing of the subjects of his erudition appreciate the manner in which he used his knowledge of medieval artifacts and scholarly settings to create a convincing atmosphere for some of the best stories of the supernatural ever written in English. Scholars also respond to his sureness of touch in this regard, and in the course of my lecture I pointed out that this aspect of his career involved James in hitherto unknown contact with the Morgan Library, in that . . .

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