Ghost-Stories of an Antiquary [with] More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary.
New York: Longmans, Green, and Co; London: Edward Arnold, 1905. [and] London: Edward Arnold, 1912. Ghost-Stories: 8vo, (xii), 270 pp. With four illustrations by James McBryde including frontispiece. Original beige linen, yapped edges, titled in black and ruled in red on upper board and backstrip. Front hinge cracked, frontis. tissue toned, spot on p.111, otherwise very good. More Ghost-Stories: 8vo, (1), v, 274, with 2pp. ad for Ghost-Stories followed by 24pp. publishers catalogue for Autumn, 1911. Original grey cloth boards, stamped in black with bat and titles on upper board and titles on backstrip, boards a little faded and toned, with tips worn and a small red stain near the bat, one page creased otherwise internally clean. First US edition of Ghost-Stories, with first UK edition, second impression, of More Ghost Stories. As with all the best creative works it seems next to impossible to define exactly what is so special about the ghost stories of M.R. James. It's no simple sentimentality, nor a cheap roller-coaster thrill. It has something to do with an off-kilter Englishness, a certain respectability besieged but also defined by the bizarre, the chaotic and the arcane. In part at least, it's tied up with that unique, brave and terrible period of European history in which these stories were written (Stephen Gray). James was a noted medievalist, provost of Kings College, Cambridge, and later provost of Eton, but it is for these ghost stories, many times adapted for the screen, that he is best remembered.
(Item Id: 109253)