It may come as some surprise that my favourite writer of chilling tales did not produce his most famous works in the Victorian period at all, but rather in the Edwardian era. Montague Rhodes James was certainly a Victorian, however, and his tales encapsulate the greatest motifs of his age, and spin them into something extraordinary, which to my mind gave birth to the ‘modern’ ghost story.
I will revisit M. R. James’ work in future blog posts, but for now I want to talk about a new-ish edition of his collected works that I recently acquired. This book is called Curious Warnings, the 150th anniversary edition of James’ collected tales.
This is a beautiful book; a real treasure. Chunky, leather bound, with black flocked page edges, nice paper and binding; everything, in fact, that a print nerd like me loves. The editor, Stephen Jones, has taken two unusual steps when compiling this book, which really brings me to my point.
The first thing he’s done, and the most welcome, is to make the prose easier to read by the judicious use of typesetting.