MR James begins to write the rules

MR James Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook

In the lead up to MR James’ 150th birthday this year, ROBERT LLOYD PARRY explores the great writer’s first full-length ghost story

MR JamesCanon Alberic’s Scrapbook was the first full length ghost story that M R James wrote, and it’s one of his best. All the elements that made him so original and powerful a storyteller are here. The brilliantly described setting, in this case the tiny town of St Bertrand de Comminges in the French Pyrenees. An antiquarian object of desire that offers a glimpse into another, far more dangerous world: here a scrapbook containing the choicest cuts from a monastic library. The droll, donnish details – the Latin phrases, the biblical and art historical references – that lend such entertaining authority. And a gnawing sense of unease, a steady accumulation of sounds, shadows and images that finally meet in a single moment of sensational physical horror.

Author: The Spooky Isles

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