Post by The Lurker In The Shadows on Oct 20, 2007 12:36:44 GMT
The House Of The Nightmare and Other Eerie Tales (1967)
I've recently been looking at "The House Of The Nightmare and Other Eerie Tales" chosen by Kathleen Lines, which contains the fine Jamesian story, "Curfew" by Lucy Boston. This book was in my primary school's library and I suspect it was my first introduction to M.R. James, since "A School Story" is in it and I remember swathes of that from my childhood. I'd previously assumed it was from the "Spine Chillers" series on the BBC. Now I'm not so sure. I also recall reading and re-reading the traditional tale "Mr Fox".
I wonder if reading a book like this at such an early age explains the way my interests developed in later years...
The book is split into two sections, the first, larger section containing fiction, the second containing allegedly true accounts.
The House Of The Nightmare and Other Eerie Tales Chosen by Kathleen Lines
Originally published by The Bodley Head (1967) Later editions published by Puffin Books
Foreword - Kathleen Lines
FROM IMAGINATION The House of the Nightmare - Edward Lucas White The Hauntings at Thorhallstead - Allen French His Own Number - William Croft Dickinson Gabriel-Ernest - Saki Hand in Glove - Elizabeth Bowen Mr Fox - Traditional Curfew - L.M. Boston John Bartine's Watch - Ambrose Bierce The Monkey's Paw - W.W. Jacobs My Grandfather, Hendry Watty - Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch A School Story - M.R. James The Red Cane - E.F. Bozman A Diagnosis of Death - Ambrose Bierce Bad Company - Walter de la Mare Proof - Henry Cecil The Amulet - Thomas Raddall The Hair - A.J. Alan The Return of the Native - William Croft Dickinson The Earlier Service - Margaret Irwin
FROM LIFE 'Here I am Again!' - Charles G.S.-, Esq. The Man who Died at Sea - Rosemary Sutcliff The Wish Hounds - Kathleen Hunt The Man in the Road - F.M. Pilkington My Haunted Houses - M. Joyce Dixon In Search of a Ghost - Eric Roberts The Limping Man of Makin-Meang - Sir Arthur Grimble
There is the touch on the shoulder that comes when you are walking quickly homewards in the dark hours, full of anticipation of the warm room and bright fire, and when you pull up, startled, what face or no-face do you see?
This book was on our English syllabus at school - strange but true, and we were told to read only the story that pertained to the next lesson or for homework. Sod that, I thought, as I discovered the quality of the stories within. I read them all, over a weekend , and loved them, despite being troubled by Mr Fox, and His Own Number, and really rather disturbed by The Earlier Service, which I still rate as a horror story, and still gives me great pleasure on re-reading. Of course, MR James' much anthologised A School Story made me want to read more of his work, and I wasn't disappointed when I did. My school copy 'mysteriously' vanished from school, reappearing on my bookshelf, and read until the binding gave way. I have a copy next to me now, in a box set bought from a charity shop for £1. The Puffin set, called 'A Box Of Ghosts' contains, as well: 'Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery'; 'Mr Corbett's Ghost' [very, very dark], by Leon Garfield; 'Ghosts, Spooks, And Spectres'; and 'Earthfasts' by William Mayne. A pound well spent, methinks.
''...You'll like Mr Barlow... And he'll like you...''