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Summary

The powerful sense of evil – darkness, creepy hairy presences, cloaks, hoods, talons and tentacles – pervades these classic ghost stories by M.R. James. A Cambridge scholar himself, James explored what happens when academics dabble in things they don’t understand and unleash forces of which they know nothing. The titles in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary range from witchcraft to the occult, and tap into our primal fear of things that go bump in the night. They are recognised as the best of their genre.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2010 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2010 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Ghost Stories of an Antiquary

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An Extremity of Terror

Ghost stories are traditional, to be read at Christmas or on Halloween (both are quite acceptable). And there are none better than those of M. R. James, scholar, antiquary, and master of the art language.

These stories are short but they are very characteristic, and most of the main characters can be seen to be thinly-veiled self portraits of the author, Monty (as he was affectionately known in his circle). This can be seen in the first story, “Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook”. But as the stories progress, the darker they become. “Lost Hearts”, with its inclusion of children as ghosts (classic staple); “Count Magnus” (perhaps one of my favourites), and “Number 13”, make you question everything about the world we know. But the last story, “The Treasure of Abbot Thomas”, is perhaps the most claustrophobic of all the stories. It’s climax is terrifying, and it makes the skin crawl with that “pleasing terror”, as Monty called it.

If you want a ghost story collection to read, I would definitely, ultimately, recommend this one as a start to the best ghost stories ever written. This is the first volume, there were three more to come: “More Ghost Stories”, “A Thin Ghost and Other Stories”, and “A Warning to the Curious and Other Stories”.

These are the greatest ghost stories I have ever read: up there with J. Sheridan le Fanu (who was an influence on Monty), Algernon Blackwood, and E. F. Benson.

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A Box of Darkest Delights

I love M R James stories full stop. His stories are like early urban legends that are steeped in dark delight. The narration is superb in this collection of 8 of his stories. the stories are
Number 13
Canon Alberics' Scrapbook
The Mezzotint
Lost Hearts
The Ash tree
Count Magnus
Whistle and I'll come to thee
Abbot Thomas's Treasure
These are some of James's best work, although his most famous story A Warning To The Curious is absent, it doesn't detract from this box of chilling dark delights!

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A masterpiece from the godfather of spooky

You have to love Monty’s restrained style. No slashing, screaming or blood spattered, gut turning histrionics like we get from modern exponents of the ghost genre, but rather a leisurely development of a series of short tales beautifully written and eminently believable. I recommend a candle on the bedside cabinet when reading in homage to his genius.

Brilliant!

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  • Adeliese Baumann
  • 25-06-11

Great performances of the classic

I've heard dozens of readings of James' ghost stories over the years, particularly those from this book. The various readings on this recording are among the best. If you're new to James, this would be a wonderful place to start. Haunted objects, otherworldly visitations, and travel to foreign lands make the collection interesting. These are old-fashioned stories, very much of the author's time, but good, solid tales as only James can tell them.

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  • Robert
  • 05-10-12

Great Stories and Narration of M.R. James!

M.R. James is one of my favourite ghost story authors. I really enjoy his sense of atmosphere and subtle scariness, compared with the shock-fests of today! And to top it off, most of the narration is done by one of my favourites, David Timson! Check this audio book out if you're a fan of classic ghost stories and great narration!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Donna Deal
  • 21-08-19

Interesting interpretation of James' finest

No one wrote ghost stories like M.R.James, the master. His style is masterful, grabs one's attention,
and never disappoints. These are not 'quickies' of horror or destruction, but slow, cool, steady unfolding of
fear..

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  • Dr. O
  • 26-11-11

My Favourite Audiobook!

I loved this audiobook! Great stories by M.R. James and very good narration. Probably my favourite purchase so far!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Vorthe
  • 27-11-13

Creepy and atmospheric.

What made the experience of listening to Ghost Stories of an Antiquary the most enjoyable?

M. R. James is regarded by many as the Master of the British Ghost Story. He has a way of setting the scene so that you think the places are real places and the people are real people, so the tension also feels real.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary?

My favorite stories are probably "Canon Alberic's Scrap Book" and "Lost Hearts"

Which scene was your favorite?

The story of the hunters in "Count Magnus"

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I have listened to this book several times, the stories lend themselves to listening a few at a time, but I have also listened to it all at once.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 27-10-20

Superb in every way

To begin with, these are some of the finest ghost stories ever written. If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading M.R. James, you’re in for a real treat!

The narrators in this set are both outstanding. David Timson reads most of the tales, and he brings out not just the tremendous atmosphere of these tales but also the wittiness of James’s writing. Stephen Critchelow’s voice and delivery are very different, but still equally well suited to the material.

James famously introduced these tales (many of them, at any rate) by reading them to his friends at Christmas. Timson and Critchelow’s performances beautifully evoke such a setting: it’s easy to imagine gathering around a fire on a cold winter’s night, and listening as they bring James’s stories vividly to life.

One last thing to note - the musical selections (brief fragments at the beginning and end of each tale) are very well chosen and add a lot to the atmosphere.

All in all, a superb collection in every way. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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  • Phyllis J. Hall
  • 15-07-20

Loved it! M. R. James is fantastic.

Absolutely delicious macabre! M. R. James is a master of ghost story genre and hands down my favorite.

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  • Admiralu
  • 19-01-20

Classic Scares, Pair with Audio Featuring Timsom, Critchlow


This was a wonderful collection of some of M. R. James' most intriguing ghost stories. Meant more for the mind, the father of the ghost story shows his talent at taking the every day and making it sinister. I love the classic stories for the lack of gore and more cerebral focus. I also listened to the excellent narration by David Timson and Stephen Critchlow. This particular audiobook also includes a PDF with a bio of the author, info on the stories and track listings. It was available in the Audible app on my iPhone. An excellent book and wonderful introduction for those who enjoy classic scares.

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  • Lia
  • 03-09-19

Great Stories, Wrong Narrator

These are some really wonderful (and wonderfully written), classic spooky stories! Unfortunately, the main narrator is simply and unequivocally WRONG for the job. In the alternative, the narrator (who has a pleasing voice and an elegant accent), made a fatal mistake in choosing his delivery of these stories. What is needed is voice with the cadence, ominous tones and sufficient range to terrify the listener as M.R. James intended. Instead, what we got was a boring lecture that may as well have been describing the latest business practices. What a bloody shame.

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  • Luigi Grimaldi
  • 08-02-15

Not bad at all.

Decent "antiquated" horror short stories. Well-written but not particularly gripping. Yet, enjoyable and worth the time for any follower of this genre.

1 person found this helpful