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Complete Ghost Stories

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  15 reviews
M. R. James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, and they went on to both transform and modernize a genre. James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognizable world to one that is indefinably strange, and then unforgettably terrifying. Sheets, pictures, carvings, a doll's house, a lonely beach, a branch tapping on a window—ordinary ...more
Paperback, 362 pages
Published April 1st 1988 by Penguin (Non-Classics)
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Airiz C
After graduating from Stine’s “Goosebumps” books in high school, I quenched my thirst for more horror lit by a steady dose of readings from Poe, Lovecraft, King, and of course, James. Montague Rhodes James is perhaps one of my favorite horror writers back then, even if I’ve only read one anthology of his writings.

Complete Ghost Stories is a good tome of macabre literature. I must confess that most of the stories didn’t scare me at all but they kept me entertained and amused, fueling me to read u
...more
Susan
If you are going to read only one author of the classic English ghost story, make it M.R. James - and buy this book, because it will give you all of his great stories in one place, ready whenever you're in the mood for a good Victorian/Edwardian chill. I read this book every October (perfect time of year for it), and I'm always amazed by James' gifts as a writer in this genre - he is really, really good, and a pleasure to read almost as much for his grace with the English language as he is for h ...more
Nicole
Well maybe its just me...concerning that the ratings of the complete classic collection of M.R.James book are most of the time four or five out of five. And concerning that this is my third book of these kind and as much as the other ones really couldn't get me, maybe its really me...I don't know.
I have read before Dickens Ghost Stories and The best Ghost Stories ( which included one or two of Dickens tellings again) and they weren't my books. But because I bought them all together at once ( so
...more
Julie Davis
The current description for this book at Goodreads is confused with Edgar Allan Poe so I will provide the publisher's description for this fabulous little book:
"In another infinitesimal flash he had taken it in. Pale, dusky skin, covering nothing but bones and tendons of appalling strength; coarse black hairs, longer than ever grew on a human hand; nails rising from the ends of the fingers and curving sharply down and forward, grey horny and wrinkled. He flew out of his chair with deadly inconce
...more
Jim
Recommended as one of the classic authors of ghost stories, I first became aware of James' work when I saw Jonathan Miller's film 'Whistle And I'll Come To You', adapted from one of his stories. The typical James story doesn't deal with the horror directly, oddly enough; the story is often told by a narrator twice or more times removed from the action. So you get a story told by the author who heard it from a school friend, who pieced it together from the stories of two different people, etc. Bu ...more
Ben Schultz
This guy is a genius, and this book is a great example of how a great author can essentially write the same short story over and over and still make them compulsively readable. "Oh Whistle and I'll Come To You, My Lad" gets all the press, but I think there are a lot of stories at least its equal in the collection, including "Canon Alberic's Scrapbook", "Casting the Runes", "Count Magnus" (much of which was lifted for a John Bellairs novel whose title I can't remember) and
"The Ash Tree".
Ian Casey
My cursory research into the masters of the ghost story form soon divulged the name of one Montague Rhodes James. H.P. Lovecraft named him a 'modern master' of horror, and as the latter is to date my sole reference point for short horror stories, I read James through that lens. James for his part did not reciprocate the appreciation (to put it mildly), but no matter.

Some points of comparison are plainly apparent. For one, the scale with James is intimate. In Lovecraft, man is scarcely a speck of
...more
D. J.
(Review of the 592 page hardback "Collectors Library" edition.)

I've been a fan of M. R. James' stories for well over thirty years. Few authors of the past 150 years can craft a ghost story with such an impact as James regularly managed. I've recently re-read many of James' stories on my Kindle as they are in the public domain and freely available, but I was excited to get this hardback collection to have something tangible and to hand down to my kids to ignite their imagination once they are old
...more
Pat Padden
M.R. James was the provost of King's College, Cambridge as well as of Eton College in the years from 1905 to 1936. A medieval scholar, a writer of guidebooks to the abbeys of Britain and to the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, translator of Biblical Apocrypha, and author of such weighty tomes as "A Descriptive Catalogue of the Library of Samuel Pepys", "The Wanderings and Homes of Manuscripts" and "A Descriptive Catalogue of the McClean Collection of Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum" he spe ...more
Josephine
5th September 2010

I revisited this old favourite after many years, I first read James at the age of fifteen and hid under the blankets afraid to turn off the light. Coming back for a second time I still find that fearful enjoyment in his stories even though there is less gore that we have become used to in recent years both on t.v. and in books. Although only written in the 1930's the beautiful use of the english language without need of slang or swearing is so refreshing. The volume that I read
...more
Jane
Not dreadfully scary, but perhaps not the best book to get for the Kindle Paperwhite I got for Christmas. The idea was that it would allow me to read in bed in the dark without disturbing my sleeping husband, but I did actually put it down part-way through "Oh whistle and I'll come to you"...
Kevin Lucia
Just finished this, and I'm still unsure of my opinion. I don't think I really liked it as much as 4 stars, but I liked it MORE than only three stars, if that makes any sense. Some of the stories were truly chilling, others were very neat and clever ideas, and some just kinda bounced off my head. Still an important voice in the development of the ghost story, however.
Andrew Thompson
Genteelly told spooky stories to keep you awake at night. Includes Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You My Lad, The Mezzotint, Number 13, Casting The Runes. Well worth reading, but leave all the lights on, just in case.
Susan
My favorite book of classic British ghost stories, ever - I reread it every year in October or December, and I find more to admire in these masterfully written and memorably spooky stories every time.
Suvi
Favourites: The Mezzotint, Number 13, The Diary of Mr. Poynter and A Warning to the Curious.
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Montague Rhodes James, who used the publication name M.R. James, was a noted British mediaeval scholar & provost of King's College, Cambridge (1905–18) & of Eton College (1918–36). He's best remembered for his ghost stories which are widely regarded as among the finest in English literature. One of James' most important achievements was to redefine the ghost story for the new century by di ...more
More about M.R. James...
Collected Ghost Stories Ghost Stories of an Antiquary Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

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