James, M. R.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

James, M. R.

M. R. James: (Montague Rhodes James), 1862–1936, English scholar, educator, and writer. He attended Eton and King's College, Cambridge, became (1887) a fellow at King's, and held various offices there, becoming became provost (head) of the college in 1905. In 1918 he returned to Eton, where he served as provost until his death. His scholarly interests were in medieval history and Biblical apocrypha, but he is best known for the ghost and horror stories he wrote and read to acquaintances or students. Most of these were published in four collections: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1911), A Thin Host and Others (1919), and A Warning to the Curious (1925); all are in Collected Ghost Stories (2012). James specialized in tales whose protagonists were, like him, bachelors, dons, and bibliophiles; in the course of the tales, his characters were beset by soft, furry, many-armed creepy-crawlies.

See biography by M. Cox (1983).

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