A Podcast to the Curious - The M.R. James Podcast

A Podcast to the Curious - The M.R. James Podcast

United States

... dedicated to the Weird Fiction and Ghost Stories of M.R. James.


Episode 53 – Jacqueline Simpson interview  

This episode Mike and Will interview folklorist Jacqueline Simpson about the influence of Scandinavian and English folklore on M.R. James’s ghost stories, as well as Jacqueline’s collaboration with Terry Pratchett on ‘Folklore of the Discworld’. Many thanks to Jacqueline for her hospitality! More about Jacqueline: Jacqueline Simpson on Wikipedia Dictionary of English Folklore by Jacqueline [...]

Episode 52 – Eton and King’s, part one  

It’s back to school this week as Mike and Will pack their tuckboxes and top hats and join Monty for the first part of his memoir “Eton and King’s: recollections, mostly trivial”.  How will James deal with the traditions and quirks of Eton?  Will he avoid a midnight wedgy?  And who exactly is the mysterious [...]

Episode 51 – M.R. James Conference 2016  

This episode Mike and Will report on the the M.R. James conference, aka ‘Haunted Studies: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James’ and bring you interviews with a range of Jamesian luminaries present at the event. For more information on the conference, visit the conference website. People we interview in this episode: Dewi Evans (Acedemia.edu) Dewi, [...]

Episode 50 – A Night in King’s College Chapel  

This episode Mike and Will pack their sleeping bags and bed down for ‘A Night in King’s College Chapel’ by M.R. James. The episode also features an exclusive interview with James Drewett and Richard Svensson, creators of ‘Monsters and Miscreants’ a new M.R. James-themed card game available to order now. You can also watch an [...]

Episode 49 – Twelve Medieval Ghost Stories  

What could be more worthy of a Christmas episode than a ghost story? Answer: twelve ghost stories!  This week Mike and Will find plenty of seasonal cheer in the scribblings of a 15th century monk from Yorkshire, whose collected tales of wandering spirits Monty transcribed in 1922.  Expect lashings of purgatorial terrors, a stocking-full of [...]

Episode 48 – Auditor and Impresario  

This episode Mike and Will dust off their acting chops and take to the stage as they cover Auditor and Impresario, M.R. James’s little-know comic play! Expect diabolism, drama, demons and dreadful sub-GCSE-level acting! The image to the right is none other than M.R. James himself, playing they the part of Peithetairos in an 1883 [...]

Episode 47 – The Five Jars, Part 3  

In this episode Mike and Will cover the concluding third of ‘The Five Jars‘, M.R. James’s little-read children’s book. Expect earwig racing, bat balls, dragons and horseshoe mayhem! The readings for this episode once again come from the excellent Librevox audiobook of The Five Jars, read by Peter Yearsley. Links: Iron in Folklore (Wikipedia) The [...]

Episode 46 – The Five Jars, Part 2  

In this episode Mike and Will delve into the middle third of M.R. James’s ‘The Five Jars’ and encounter talking owls, two flavours of sinister old women, and all manner of supernatural trickery and tomfoolery! Readings this week are once again extracted from Peter Yearsley’s excellent Librevox recording of this story, with added help from [...]

Episode 45 – Conference Report: MR James and the Modern Ghost Story  

This week, Will and Mike don their academic tweeds, gather their notes and ascend to the podium to bring you their conference report on MR James and the Modern Ghost Story.  Join us for 45 minutes of (un)learned comment, digressions and wild speculation – plus more expert commentary from author Helen Grant (@helengrantsays), comics writer [...]

Episode 44 – The Five Jars, Part 1  

This week Will and Mike explore the borders between psychedelia and twee when they crack open The Five Jars, Monty’s only novel.  Prepare yourself for enigmatic springs, helpful trees and cantankerous cats – and two very confused podcasters. Show notes: Parents beware – Will drops his guard and utters a foul-mouthed profanity at 12:48.  Chapter [...]

Episode 43 – The Malice of Inanimate Objects  

In this episode Mike and Will batten down the hatches and prepare for the onslaught of ‘The Malice of Inanimate Objects‘ by M.R. James. Readings for this episode are taken from Curious Creatures, Robert Lloyd Parry’s excellent audiobook which features a selection of lesser-heard M.R. James stories. Many thanks to Robert for giving us permission [...]

Episode 42 – Christmas bonus – The goblins who stole a sexton by Charles Dickens  

Season’s greetings listeners! We have a Christmas bonus episode for you here, an exclusive readings of one of Charles Dickens’s supernatural Christmas tales ‘The Story of the Goblin who Stole a Sexton‘ which appeared as part of The Pickwick Papers in 1836. For more information on Charles Dickens and M.R. James, check out Episode 41 [...]

Episode 40 – The Experiment  

This week Mike and Will attempt some foul necromancy with MR James’ little-known tale ‘The Experiment’.  Ghosts and Scholars described it as “weak and difficult”  story: can your hosts revive it from the dead? Story notes Rosemary and Daroll Pardoe’s invaluable notes, from Ghosts and Scholars Bishop Moore: a hardcore bibliophile after James’ own heart, [...]

Episode 39 – Merfield Hall  

This episode Mike & Will false-start their way through the unfinished M.R. James manuscript ‘Merfield Hall’ (or should that be ‘Merfield House’?). Big thanks to our reader this episode Debbie Wedge. Show notes: ‘Merfield Hall’ manuscript (Ghosts & Scholars) What exists of the manuscript(s) for this story can be read online at the Ghosts & [...]

Episode 38 – The Game of Bear  

An episode of two parts this week.  In part one, Will and Mike open their box of James ephemera to play the “dreadful Game of Bear”.  We only have the opening pages of this unfinished tale, but fortunately three leading Jamesians have tried to finish the story. Big thanks to Kirsty Woodfield who returns to [...]

Episode 37 – Wailing Well  

This episode Mike & Will pack their tents, pull up their socks and strap on their woggles (woggles are a scout thing, right?) as they explore M.R. James’s ‘Wailing Well’! Big thanks to Debbie Wedge for providing the readings for this episode. Show notes: Worbarrow Bay This story was read to the Eton boy scout [...]

Episode 36 – Suffolk and Norfolk  

This episode Mike & Will take a look at M.R. James’s East Anglian guidebook ‘Suffolk and Norfolk’. It’s got churches, lots and lots of churches, but also murder, mayhem, mermen, giants, green children and much more! Show notes: Skeletons at Sparham (civitasperegrina.tumblr.com) Tom Hickathrift the Giant Killer (Wikipedia) Hill of Health, Wordwell (explorebritain.com) Miss M.H. [...]

Episode 35 – Rats  

This episode Mike & Will tackle ‘Moose’ by M.R. James. No wait, that’s not right. Ah yes, ‘Rats’ by M.R. James, that’s the one. The episode features readings by Lewis Davies and the illustration to the right by Alisdair Wood. Show notes: Tom Tiddler’s Ground by Charles Dickens (Project Gutenberg) The quote about rats which [...]

Episode 34 – Marcilly-le-Hayer (with Helen Grant)  

This episode Will and Mike are thrilled to be joined by top M.R. James scholar and author Helen Grant to help them struggle their way through unfinished M.R. James story fragment ‘Marcilly-le-Hayer‘. Thanks to our readers this episode, Tom Hemmings and Debbie Wedge. Show notes: Marcilly-le-Hayer map (Monty’s World) You can view the eponymous French [...]

Episode 33 – Mark Gatiss’ The Tractate Middoth  

In this special Christmas Bonus episode, Mike and Will give their thoughts on Mark Gatiss’ adaptation of ‘The Tractate Middoth’ by M.R. James, which aired on UK TV last night along with Gatiss’ documentary ‘M.R. James: Ghost Writer’. Please note that this episode contains spoilers about both programmes so if you are planning on watching [...]

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