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Warnings to the Curious: A Sheaf of Criticism on M. R. James (Hippocampus Press Library of Criticism) Paperback – 15 Jul 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocampus Press (15 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977173488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977173488
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 393,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gary Clarke on 9 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book comprises four parts - `Some Notes on Biography'; `General Studies'; `Some Special Topics'; and `Studies of Individual Tales'.

The first section includes general biographical sketches as well as two fine pieces by Norman Scarfe and Michael Cox, `The Strangeness Present: M.R. James' Suffolk' and `M.R. James and Livermere'. The former explains and pinpoints the Suffolk settings of so many of James' tales and the latter describes the relationship James had with Livermere, the family home for over forty years.

The second section, `General Studies', encompasses general critical essays and picks out the evolution and sources behind the tales themselves. Simon MacCulloch's piece `The Toad in the Study: M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft & Forbidden Knowledge' is excellent, although a touch heavy going, and raises some pertinent points on the theme of justice and retribution in James' fiction, plus James' troubled dichotomy between the Christian view of his upbringing and his private fascination with magic and the supernatural.

`Some Special Topics', the third part of the volume, includes a nice piece by Ron Weighell that is amusing and enjoyable. He makes some strong links between ancient myths and magic and James' stories but also some very tenuous ones.

Jacqueline Simpson provides one of the most accessible essays in the collection, `The Rules of Folklore in the Ghost Stories of M.R. James' where she states that James had "a particular interest in the development and persistence of local legends and historical memories, a good knowledge of traditional beliefs, and an interest in oral narration". However, she makes it implicit that James was not actually a folklorist and, indeed, that he even ridiculed folklorists in the figure of Mr.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Drew TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The editors have been justly praised for this major contribution to literary criticism. This superb collection of essays provides many important insights into the work of Britain's finest writer of ghostly fiction. It is a considerable achievement and an essential purchase for both acolytes of this great writer and anyone with a serious interest in literature. I disagree with the previous reviewers thoughts on the "overly academic" nature of some of the reviews. If supernatural fiction is to be treated with the seriousness he feels it deserves how can an article be over academic? Surely it is the intrinsic quality of the writing which matters and the insights it provides however complex, profound or "academic". So congratulations editors on providing such an excellent mix of thought provoking articles - written in many styles and on many "levels"!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Table of Contents (from the publisher's website) 6 Jan. 2008
By Roger Zeus - Published on
Format: Paperback
Table of contents

Introduction by S. T. Joshi

I. Some Notes on Biography

Montague Rhodes James: 1862-1936 (1936) [5461], Stephen Gaselee
Montague Rhodes James (1966) [4653], Shane Leslie
The Strangeness Present: M. R. James's Suffolk (1986) [1784], Norman Scarfe
M. R. James and Livermere (1998) [2400], Michael Cox

II. General Studies

Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927) [extract] [1628], H. P. Lovecraft
The Art of Montague James (1934) [6413], Mary Butts
The Ghost Stories of Montague Rhodes James (1947) [4248], L. J. Lloyd
The Toad in the Study: M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft and Forbidden Knowledge (1995-97) [17,616], Simon MacCulloch

III. Some Special Topics

On Not Letting Them Lie: Moral Significance in the Ghost Stories of M. R. James (1982) [4197], Michael A. Mason
Dark Devotions: M. R. James and the Magical Tradition (1984), Ron Weighell
M. R. James's Women (1993) [1926], David G. Rowlands
"The Rules of Folklore" in the Ghost Stories of M. R. James (1997) [8501], Jacqueline Simpson
"A Warning to the Curious": Victorian Science and the Awful Unconscious in M. R. James's Ghost Stories (1998) [5793], Brian Cowlishaw
"They've Got Him! In the Trees!": M. R. James and Sylvan Dread (1999) [2963], Steve Duffy
Homosexual Panic and the English Ghost Story: M. R. James and Others (2002) [5343], Mike Pincombe
"If I'm Not Careful": Innocents and Not-So-Innocents in the Stories of M. R. James (2007) [3524], John Alfred Taylor

IV. Studies of Individual Tales

The Nature of the Beast: The Demonology of Canon Alberic's Scrap-book" (2004), Helen Grant
A Haunting Presence (1999) [1475], C. E. Ward
"A Wonderful Book": George MacDonald and "The Ash-Tree" (2003) [2390], Rosemary Pardoe
Who Was Count Magnus? Notes towards an Identification (2001) [1581], Rosemary Pardoe
A Haunting Vision: M. R. James and the Ashbridge Stained Glass (2000) [1349], Nicholas Connell
A Maze of Secrets in a Story by M. R. James (1993) [8189], Martin Hughes
Thin Ghosts: Notes toward a Jamesian Rhetoric (2007) [7118], Jim Rockhill
Nightmares of Punch and Judy in Ruskin and M. R. James (1996) [1844], Roger Craik
An Elucidation (?) of the Plot of M. R. James's "Two Doctors" (1990) [8094], Lance Arney
Landmarks and Shrieking Ghosts (1997) [1887], Jacqueline Simpson [with an Addendum by Rosemary Pardoe]



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