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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best of English supernatural fiction!
For anyone who can think of no better way to spend a dark winters' evening than to curl up by the fire and read a good ghost story, then this book is for you. M.R. James, perhaps the most famous of all English supernaturalists, delivers stories of such consistent quality and style that it is difficult to think of anyone, except perhaps Algernon Blackwood, that ever has...
Published on 16 Aug 2006 by J. D. Wood

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok I suppose
A not- very- interesting cd. I found it hard to concentrate for long and didn't actually manange to listen to it all.
Published 7 months ago by J. Ball


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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best of English supernatural fiction!, 16 Aug 2006
By 
J. D. Wood (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories: The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
For anyone who can think of no better way to spend a dark winters' evening than to curl up by the fire and read a good ghost story, then this book is for you. M.R. James, perhaps the most famous of all English supernaturalists, delivers stories of such consistent quality and style that it is difficult to think of anyone, except perhaps Algernon Blackwood, that ever has or ever will match him. James' stories reflect an England that has long since faded into memory. He himself was a lifelong academic and a highlight of the Christmas term for his students would be an invite to his study where they would hear his latest tale of terror. These stories are beautifully crafted with an elegant prose that conjours up an age long since past. Despite being written over eighty years ago these stories have not lost their ability to send shivers down the spine and indeed on occasion, even shock. With James' work, it is often the unexpected that leaves a lingering shadow in the readers mind long after the book has been put down. Highlights and true classics of supernatural fiction, include his most famous tale 'Oh Whistle, and I'll Come To You My Lad' and other genre classics such as ' Lost Hearts,' 'The Mezzotint,' and 'The Ash Tree.' So imagine , if you will, it is night, you are sitting in an old leather arm chair alone in a dark room, you are drifting off to sleep. Your arm falls from your side and your hand brushes something that is crouching in the dark on the floor beside you. It is large, the size of a man, but it is covered in thick coarse hair and it has started to rise!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me afraid to go to bed, 12 Jan 2011
This review is from: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories: The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
The only really scary ghost stories I have ever read. Each story begins with the usual calm of 19thC prose and gradually reality begins to fray at the edges and you end up being frightened out of your wits by a pile of linen bedsheets.
Not for the faint of heart but definitely for people who like to read a genre done supremely well.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master of the Ghost story, 15 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. Louis Des Preaux "Louis des Preaux" (South-West France.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories: The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
What can one say of the ghost stories of M.R. James ? It was the only type of story in which he was interested in writing. And he is the absolute master of this genre. For a wonderful and chilling "read", there is nothing better than these stories.

Louis des Préaux
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful addition to my audio library, 17 Jan 2008
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I was intoduced, 50 years ago, to the delights of the ghost stories of M.R. James by my Latin master at school who usually read one of these superb stories at the end of term. These made such a deep impression on me that, to this day, ghost stories fall into 2 groups - those by M.R. James and the rest!

By far and away the best recordings of M.R. James' ghost stories were those recorded by the incomparable Michael Hordern on the Argo label, now sadly long deleted. His voice characterizations seem to hit exactly the right note.

Unfortunately Hordern did not record all the stories, so this CD is a very welcome addition to my audio library, as it contains two that Hordern didn't do - A View from a Hill & The Story of a Disappearance & an Appearance. Derek Jacobi's characterizations are of a wider range than Hordern's, but the general narrative style doesn't quite do it for me in the same way that Hordern's does.

It has to be said that recordings of all James Stories are being released, narrated by David Collings (if, that is, the publisher ever get round to releasing the 2nd tranche - I've been waiting 10 months!!). However Collings' characterizations are, by a long way, the poorest of the three. He has a flat & monotonous intonation which I find tedious, so in terms of material available today, Jacobi's recording is to be greatly commended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Listening, 17 Jan 2008
By 
Jeanno43 "Jeannette" (Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A must have for lovers of ghost stories in general and particularly those of M.R. James. Superbly read by the great Derek Jacobi who really makes the stories come alive. A real treat.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this one! It's the best edition of MR James's works available, 4 Aug 2009
This review is from: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories: The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
The Wordsworth Classics edition of MR James's works is still the best one-volume edition available. I've dipped into my copy so many times I think I need a new one. But just when I thought it was all the James I'd ever need I came across this Penguin edition.

If you're looking to start reading MR James then get the Wordsworth, but if you've read him and want more, or want to get the best edition of his stories right from the very beginning, then buy this peerless book.

This has got to be one of the best Penguin Classics editions in a long time. ST Joshi's introduction is masterly and insightful. He clearly knows and loves these stories well and his intro serves to whet the appetite for the newcomers while shedding new light on James and his stories for those who already know them well.

For students and scholars, Joshi's suggestions for further reading also indicate that this is man with a serious, SERIOUS command of the subject.

As if this weren't enough we get Joshi's notes for each story. These are especially useful for clarifying some of the more obscure references in James's stories, as well as the numerous latin phrases and allusions with which his tales are littered. And then there's the appendices which print uncollected matter which is hard to come by.

This book really is a fine example of its kind and is worth every penny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 July 2014
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Very well read. Decent selection of stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you like M. R.James's work, highly recommended, but perhaps not for those new to them., 16 Jun 2014
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First off, if you thinking of buying this CD you probably will be buying a "preloved" copy. That may also suggest you are already familiar with the stories of M R James. So, what do you get? Its 2 CD's of Derek Jacobi reading 5 of M. R. James's stories, supernatural may be a more accurate title than ghost stories. Derek Jacobi reads them well and develops a good atmosphere and is true to the written stories, so no problems there. I first borrowed this CD from my local library and then bought it from Amazon, so knew what I was buying. A potential buyer who had perhaps already read the stories and possibly already owned other audio CD's I think could buy this CD with confidence that they would enjoy it. A potential buyer with no or limited knowledge of M. R. James's work and background could well enjoy and be "pleasantly scared" by the stories but, could equally, find them not very scary and "twee." This is not so say that M. R. James was a bad writer or to downplay his importance in the change from "gothic" ghost stories to that we have today, but we have moved on since the Edwardian era. The choice of stories would, I suggest, appeal to someone who already had some knowledge of M. R. James's work as " A View From A Hill," and "The Ash Tree" are very good, "Rats," and "A School Story," are shorter and lesser stories, which may have had more resonance when they were published. "The Story Of A Disappearance" is the final story. None of these stories are very well known. Volume 2 of Ghost Stories also available includes "A Warning to The Curious," The Stalls Of Barchester Cathedral" and "The Mezzotint" which are more well known, typical of M. R. James's work and, I would suggest, this CD would be a better choice for "entry level."
In conclusion, I enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, these 2 CD's which are well done and so get 5, stars but appreciate the stories may appear tame by today's standards.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Scary MR James book, 1 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories: The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
MR James knows how to get under your skin and preys on those primeval fears. Enjoying all the stories so far - inspired to buy book by BBC documentary on MR James. I would recommend if you enjoy old horror stories. Book quality is ok however the pages are bit thin which points to some scrimping when it came to which quality of paper to use.
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5.0 out of 5 stars M.R.James, 5 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories: The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James v. 1 (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I brought this for my husband to complete his set of M.R.Jame's its a brilliant book if your into Ghost stories
It's a must read as i know M.R.Jame's work is fantastic so yes i give this book 10/10
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