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Count Magnus (The Complete Ghost Stories of M.R. James #1)

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,553 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
The only annotated edition of M.R. James's writings currently available, Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories contains the entire first two volumes of James's ghost stories, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary and More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. These volumes are both the culmination of the nineteenth-century ghost story tradition and the inspiration for much of the best twe ...more
Kindle Edition, 26 pages
Published (first published 1904)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
My grandfather, my father’s father, attended Eton College before the Second World War, leaving there for Sandhurst when he was seventeen. During his time at school he got to know M. R. James, who was provost until his death in the summer of 1936. Grandfather was among the successive waves of boys that James introduced to the tingly delights of the ghost story, a genre in which the old master excelled, writing some of the best tales in the English language. He learned to love the ghost story from ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Mar 04, 2011 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of classic horror
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) by: Classic Horror Lovers Tales to Chill Your Blood group read
This review is for Count Magnus alone (although I fully intend to read the other stories at some point).

Mr. James has not been called a ghost story-writing master for no reason. He is an expert at building the atmosphere and writing a story that delivers an eerie, creepy thrill to the reader. Although I wouldn't call this one of my favorite stories by him, he was quite successful with this tale about an ill-fated travel-writer who comes upon the mystery of a not-so nice Swedish nobleman with an
Orrin Grey
Aug 26, 2011 Orrin Grey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
After re-reading my Collected Ghost Stories in honor of M.R. James' birthday, I realized a lot of things, not least that I was more enamored of (and more indebted to) M.R. James than I'd realized. So at once I sought out the Penguin editions which, though they contained more or less all the same stories as the Collected Ghost Stories, also contained various notes from James himself, as well as annotations and the like. I'd definitely say these were the definitive volumes, assuming that (like me) ...more
Scott Rhee
M.R. James loved to tell ghost stories around the fire, apparently a Christmas tradition in England during the Victorian Period, and someone wisely suggested that he put several of the spookiest ones into book form.

Thus, we have "Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories", published by Penguin Classics, the only comprehensive collection of his complete stories. Not a lot, to be sure, but enough to paint a picture of a time when people were still terrified by floating bedsheets and whispering wind.

Suzanne moodhe
Nov 15, 2007 Suzanne moodhe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of the classic ghost tale, readers of Lovecraft and Poe
God I love ghost stories! Fall is the best time of year for a little Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft and now...M.R. James. Ever wonder why ghosts wear sheets? Read the short story, "Oh, Whistle and I'll come to you my lad" and you will understand why. Creepy stories - Lovecraftian, yes but with a wry humor and a more concise style...Other good reads in this book include, "The Rose Garden", "Number 13", "A school tale" and Count Magnus. Happy Hauntings!
Apr 12, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I think that it is hard to find really good ghost stories. These are great! If you like Victorian fiction, you should love these.
Oct 23, 2010 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of classic horror and supernatural stories
This was my first crack at reading MR James, and I must say I really enjoyed it. Probably not much can be said about his writing that hasn't already been said, but I will give my impressions anyway.

James writes in a much more readable and direct way than some other writers of classic or gothic horror, for example LeFanu. The prose is still elaborate enough to be very satisfying to a reader of classic horror.

I am definitely interested in reading more MR James in the future. My favorite stories in
Jun 14, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Thou shalt seek me in the morning, and I shall not be."

Spooky, cosy and sometimes chilling. MR James is a master of the ghost story (though not as terrifying as Lovecraft) and manages to set the perfect mood to all of his short stories that are all of a surprisingly superb quality. That said I didn't love them all equally but "Lost hearts", "Casting the runes" and "Oh Whistle, and I'll come for you, my lad" will stay with me for a loooong time...

"Quis est iste qui veint"
Feb 12, 2008 Devon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A guy finds a mysterious object, upsets a sacred place, or angers a crazy person. Then bad, scary stuff happens. Eventually he dies. Or never speaks of the event again...The stories are good, but generally seem to follow the same plot, outlined above. Plus, its totally obvious that this is a late 19th/early20th century male author. The only women who show up are young maid servants or nagging wives...
Apr 29, 2015 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this set of short stories! I have read them twice and I will probably read them again some day, tucked up in bed or in my favourite armchair on a cold winter's evening...
These ghost stories instantly grab you with the mysteries they relate but their interest lies in the Gothic but cosy Victorian atmosphere they convey (contrary to most Victorian or Gothic books) and James' laughing-aloud satirical style. James is obviously poking fun at his contemporaries and his character portrayal is a
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Rachel Seamount
M.R. James is the man who put “scary” into “scary ghost stories” and as much as I hate to admit it, he was damn good at it. As the man who pioneered turning spooks and haunts into things that actually jumped out and got you, he helped to inspired H.P. Lovecraft’s more well-known macabre tales.

There’s a lot that can be gleaned from James’ writing style, but I’ll leave that to authors more dedicated to horror writing than I am. What I took away from the collection Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stor
Annie Neugebauer
Dec 04, 2015 Annie Neugebauer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I recently read the Penguin Classics edition of M.R. James’s short stories, Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories. James was the last author I hadn’t read from my list of The Founding Fathers (and Mothers) of Horror Literature. Indeed, he does belong there.

Who is M.R. James? I now think of him as “the most famous horror author you’ve never heard of.” He’s known for a single type of short story that he did very well: the antiquarian ghost story. What’s that mean? He told supernatural tales of frig
Kim Wong
I struggled to find something to say about this collection of early ghost stories by M.R. James other than it's a fine collection that's enhanced by S.T. Joshi's annotations in the Penguin Classics edition that I read. I was drawn to them because they influenced H.P. Lovecraft; James's "Count Magnus" has been cited as an inspiration for Lovecraft's "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." James's stories are fairly formulaic; a male scholar or researcher travels to an unfamiliar or fictional locale, d ...more
Бранимир Събев
Поредното съкровище от кашоните. След прочитането на "Граф Магнус" лично и твърдо съм убеден, че най-добрите автори в света са британците и точка по въпроса. Стилът на Монтагю Роудс Джеймс и изящен и изтънчен, без излишни кървища, а чист хорър, страховито повествование и вледеняващи тръпки. Е, на моменти подробната описателност е мъъъничко излишна, но все пак книгата излиза за пръв път през 1931-а. М. Р. Джеймс пише като типичен британец от старата школа своите разкази за призраци, с една особен ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truthfully, this book was a whole lot better than I expected. Unfamiliar with the work of M.R. James, I imagined it much like the writing of Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, or one of his other contemporaries. In fact, often unlike the work of those named above, these stories are well-crafted, accessible, and bear multiple readings surprisingly well.
This collection features the stories compiled in two of his early collections, Ghost-Stories of an Antiquary and More Ghost-Stories of an Antiquary
Chris Matney
Apr 12, 2013 Chris Matney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just re-read the entire H.P. Lovecraft canon, I wanted to explore some of the authors that inspired him - starting with M.R. James. I am a fan of S.T. Joshi's editorial work on Lovecraft, so I decided on the Penguin Classics two-volume compendium of the four books that James published during his lifetime.

If you are a fan of antiquarian horror, then Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories should be on your must-read shelf. These are subtle tales with wonderful settings - dusty libraries fille
David Stephens
Dec 25, 2012 David Stephens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
M.R. James was an eminent scholar of medieval manuscripts and early Christianity; however, even with his solid output in academia, he is best known for his short ghost stories. This is the first recently assembled volume of his work, and it brings together fifteen of his (presumably) best tales.

As a scholar, James makes good use of his knowledge of arcane history. While his stories aren't set way in the past in abandoned and crumbling castles, they usually involve a historian or scholarly type g
Wendell Mckay
Aug 15, 2008 Wendell Mckay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first volume of Penguin's superb annotated collection of James' stories (by "weird fiction" scholar S.T. Joshi) contains some of the best and most famous works by one of literature's preeminent practicioners of the ghost story. Indeed, I might even argue that as far as specializing in "ghosts" as subject matter, James may have been the greatest of all. The first volume contains "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book," "The Mezzotint," "'Oh, Whistle And I'll Come To You, My Lad'," "The Treasure of Abbot ...more
Michael Brown
Mar 03, 2014 Michael Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
mr james was the first English writer that I encountered in high school who had a regular Christmas ghost story collection. he had some tales that would scare you on a sunny day.
Aug 24, 2012 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the author himself characterized these as ghost stories I think they should more accurately be called horror stories as not all of them have ghosts in them. I've been a fan of horror stories (as well as ghost stories) since I was a child, so some of the stories in this collection I had read before. My addition has end notes to explain some of the more arcane words and phrases which helped in the understanding of the stories themselves, since they are written in the style of the times(the l ...more
Jul 06, 2010 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
M.R. James is a hilarious and skilled writer. If you're done with Poe's heavy melodrama and Lovecraft's self-obsession, it's time for a classical ghost story. James apparently doesn't think much of golfers or golfing, a comical quirk that surfaces in various stories just as a pleasant aside to rich, indulgent storytelling. He has a great grasp of suspense and establishing a scene, with bright, crisp characters that breathe on the page. Also invaluable to this edition is the collection of footnot ...more
Oct 17, 2012 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am picking through this book in the spirit of the season. Halloween. Ghost Stories. After reading the introduction I understand that M.R. James is a recognized and honored scholar. His Ghost Stories were more of a personal side indulgence it seems. His scholarly background certainly bleeds into his stories. The stories intrigue me as examples of classic gothic fare. Perhaps these short stories may have appeared in periodicals of the day. Four stars for his intellectual capability, three and a ...more
Oct 25, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first experience or M.R James, what a good collection. Enjoyed Count Magnus
Jun 19, 2012 Joel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of fun. Heard about James from a Michael Chabon essay in his book Maps And Legends. James's stories all have a similar feel, but it's a good, creepy feel: Oxford academic type discovers some historic artifact or story or document and has an encounter with something inhuman. It's those inhuman things that especially work and have a genuine creep factor. They aren't Victorian ethereal images; they are lumps of hairy flesh, creeping and sliding and watching. When it works it really works. If I ...more
Dec 03, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I commend you all to M. R. James' stories. They're ghost stories in the sense that they are 19th-century style (which he himself admits) rather than 20th-century "horror". Usually, though, the "ghost" is far more physical than our usual interpretation and almost always the result of people messing around with Things They Shouldn't Be Messing Around With. I'm absolutely fascinated by his stories and intrigued by his philosophy of writing. Some BYU writers want to be the Mormon C. S. Lewis; I want ...more
Dec 10, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Sep 10, 2014 Jolene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good old fashioned ghost stories. Enjoyable read.
Oct 25, 2013 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that this book didn't really provide the kind of scare I was hoping for, but then so I had never read anything by its author so I didn't really knew his style. Though I was a bit let down on my high expectations, I also have to say the book is remarkable nevertheless. The supernatural forces of this stories are of a more ethereal, psychologically-bending kind, which mades them more authentic. Also we get very interesting medieval knowledge.
Iain McNab
After decades of hearing how MR James is the doyen of ghost story writers, I was a little underwhelmed. The classics may have inspired terrific adaptations e.g. Whistle and I'll Come to You, and the wonderful Night of the Demon film version of Casting the Runes, but the original stories are just not creepy enough - and they are all narrated by fussily pedantic vicars and antiquarians who look down their noses at the lower classes, women etc.
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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
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