Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936) was an English author, medievalist scholar and provost of King’s College, Cambridge, and of Eton College. Though James’s work as a medievalist is still highly regarded, he is best remembered for his ghost stories, which are regarded as among the best in the genre. He redefined the ghost story for the new century by abandoning many of the formal Gothic clichés of his predecessors and using more realistic contemporary settings. H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith were admirers of James’s work. Michael Sadleir described him as “the best ghost-story writer England has ever produced”. Paul Theroux refers to “The Mezzotint” as “the most frightening story I know”. In his list “The 13 Most Terrifying Horror Stories”, T. E. D. Klein placed James’s “Casting the Runes” at number one.
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