Country-house libraries... forlorn churches... quiet college quadrangles and damp cathedral crypts... a world where lurking supernatural evil is ever ready to pounce on the innocent, the guilty, or the merely curious... where gentlemen scholars and studious clerics pay the price of their fascination with the past...

25 chilling and salutary tales written in the tradition of M.R. James, acknowledged master of the antiquarian ghost story...

So reads the back-cover blurb of Ghosts & Scholars, edited by Richard Dalby and Rosemary Pardoe, which was published in 1987 in hard-cover by Crucible/Equation (Thorsons). There was a paperback edition, also published by Crucible, in 1989. Although two stories from Ghosts & Scholars magazine and one from another Haunted Library booklet (Eye Hath Not Seen) were included, this book should not really be seen as a spin-off from the magazine. It is essentially an independent collection of mostly reprint supernatural stories in the M.R. James tradition (with illustrations [some new], photographs and other related material) which happens to be co-edited by the editor of Ghosts & Scholars magazine! In fact, I tried to convince Thorsons to use another title for fear of confusion, but in retrospect I'm glad they decided against it.

Richard and I shared most of the editing duties on a strict fifty-fifty basis, from obtaining the relevant rights, to composing the introductory paragraphs at the beginning of each story and the notes in the "Selected Bibliography" at the end. However, the brief Introduction, although attributed to both of us, was actually written by me.

The book (both editions) has been out of print for some time, and copies are not easy to find on the second-hand market. There was also an Italian edition, Fantasmi (1989).

Click on the links below to read the Introduction and selected stories.
Click here for Mike Ashley's review of the book from Ghosts & Scholars 10.


List of Contents

"Foreword" by Michael Cox

"Introduction" by Rosemary Pardoe

"Ghosts - Treat Them Gently!" by M.R. James (article, from the Evening News, April 17, 1931)

"On the Leads" by Sabine Baring-Gould (from A Book of Ghosts, Methuen, 1904; reprinted Ash-Tree Press, 1996)

"The Stone Coffin" by 'B' (from the Magdalene College Magazine, December 1913)

"The Slype House" by A.C. Benson (from The Isles of Sunset, Isbister, 1905)

"Father Macclesfield's Tale" by R.H. Benson (from A Mirror of Shalott, Pitman, 1907)

"The Saint and the Vicar" by Cecil Binney (from 50 Years of Ghost Stories, Hutchinson, 1935)

"Christmas Re-union" by Andrew Caldecott (from Not Exactly Ghosts, Edward Arnold, 1947)

"This Time" by Ramsey Campbell (from Night Visions 3, ed. George R.R. Martin, Dark Harvest, 1986)

"Dr Horder's Room" by Patrick Carleton (from Thrills, Philip Allen, 1935)

"Blind Man's Hood" by John Dickson Carr (from The Department of Queer Complaints, Heinemann, 1940; reprinted Pan,1963)

"The Strange Affair at Upton Stonewold" by Frederick Cowles (later published in Fear Walks the Night, Ghost Story Press, 1993; reprinted as The Night Wind Howls: Complete Supernatural Stories, Ash-Tree Press,1999)

"Brother John's Bequest" by Arthur Gray (from Tedious Brief Tales of Granta and Gramarye, Heffer, 1919; reprinted Ghost Story Press, 1993; and as The Everlasting Club and Other Tales of Jesus College, Jesus College, 1997)

"Come, Follow!" by Sheila Hodgson (from Ghosts & Scholars 4, 1982)

"Ghost Story Competition" by M.R. James (comments on a competition which he judged for the Christmas 1930 edition of The Spectator)

(Competition Winners)
"Here He Lies Where He Longed to Be" by Winifred Galbraith
"The House-Party" by Emma S. Duffin

"An Incident in the City" by A.F. Kidd (from Ghosts & Scholars 1, 1979)

"As in a Glass Dimly" by Shane Leslie (from 50 Years of Ghost Stories, Hutchinson, 1935)

"Between Sunset and Moonrise" by R.H. Malden (from Nine Ghosts, Edward Arnold, 1943; reprinted Ash-Tree Press, 1995)

"New Corner" by L.T.C. Rolt (from Sleep No More, Constable, 1948; reprinted Harvester Press, 1974; Ash-Tree Press, 1996; Sutton Publishing, 1997 etc.)

"Sins of the Fathers" by David Rowlands (from Eye Hath Not Seen, Haunted Library, 1981)

"Celui-là" by Eleanor Scott (from Randalls Round, Ernest Benn, 1929; reprinted Ash-Tree Press, 1996)

"The Face in the Fresco" by Arnold Smith (from the London Mercury 104, June 1928)

"The Dean's Bargain" by Dermot Chesson Spence (from Little Red Shoes, Williams & Norgate, 1937; reprinted Ghost Story Press, 1996)

"The Horn of Vapula" by Lewis Spence (from The Archer in the Arras, Grant & Murray, 1932)

"The Grimoire" by Montague Summers (from The Grimoire & Other Supernatural Stories, Fortune, 1936)

"The Eastern Window" by E.G. Swain (from The Stoneground Ghost Tales, Heffer, 1912; reprinted Ash-Tree Press, 1996; and as Bone to his Bone, Equation, 1989)

"Select Bibliography"



Frontispiece: "The Tractate Middoth" (Stephen Jones)*
M.R. James when Provost of King's College, Cambridge (photograph)
"M.R. James and Friends" (Alan Hunter)
Drawing of M.R. James by William Strang, 1909
"The Stone Coffin" (Stella Hender)
"Blind Man's Hood" (Nick Maloret)
"Brother John's Bequest" (E. Joyce Shillington Scales)**
"An Incident in the City" (A.F. Kidd)*
"Between Sunset and Moonrise" (John Stewart)*
"Sins of the Fathers" (David Lloyd) (2)***
"Celui-là" (Alan Hunter)
"The Horn of Vapula" (Colin Langeveld)
"The Eastern Window" (David Lloyd)*
Tail-piece: drawing by Brian Frost (this didn't belong in the book and I've no idea why it was included!)

(*Reprinted from Ghosts & Scholars magazine. **Reprinted from Tedious Brief Tales of Granta and Gramarye,1919. *** Reprinted from Eye Hath Not Seen, Haunted Library, 1980.)


(Photographic plates, selected and captioned by Michael Cox)

1. M.R. James. A previously unpublished photograph taken in the late 1880s.
2. The Revd Herbert James, rector of Livermere in Suffolk, MRJ's father.
3. Mary Emily James, MRJ's mother.
4. Henry Elford Luxmoore, MRJ's Eton tutor and a regular guest at King's over Christmas when MRJ's stories were first read.
5. King's College, Cambridge: the Fellows' (Gibbs') Building. Photograph taken c.1890.
6. James McBryde, Will Stone, M.R. James; 1899.
7. James McBryde, the illustrator of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904).
8 and 9. Two of McBryde's illustrations to James's "Canon Alberic's Scrap-book".
10. The Benson brothers; Arthur, Robert Hugh, Edward Frederic.
11. A.C. Benson.
12. The Revd Sabine Baring-Gould in old age.
13. Stoneground Ghost Tales (1912) by E.G. Swain, former chaplain of King's College, Cambridge (this and the next three are cover/dust-jacket reproductions).
14. Arthur Gray's Tedious Brief Tales of Granta and Gramarye (1919).
15. R.H. Malden's Nine Ghosts (1943). Malden, another Kingsman who had known M.R. James, ended his life as Dean of Wells.
16. The Alabaster Hand (1949) by A.N.L. Munby, a distinguished librarian of King's.
17. Illustration to James's "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" by Jim Pitts, 1982 (this, and the next two plates are reprinted from Ghosts & Scholars magazine).
18. Illustration to James's "A Warning to the Curious" (Jim Pitts, 1982).
19 Two illustrations to "Canon Alberic's Scrap-book" by Russ Nicholson.
20. T.A.F. (Twice a Fortnightly) group at Cambridge in the 1890s. The T.A.F. was an offshoot of the Chitchat Society, at which the first two of M.R. James's ghost stories were read.

Copyright (c) 2001 Rosemary Pardoe

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