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12 December 2018A Pleasing Terror Two Ghost Stories by M R James • Performed by R M Lloyd Parry

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A Pleasing Terror
Two Ghost Stories by M R James • Performed by R M Lloyd Parry

Wednesday 12 December 2018

The Arts Society Cambridge presents a gripping retelling of two of the eeriest and most entertaining tales from the master of the English ghost story.

12 December, 2018 in the Provost's Lodge at Kings College, Cambridge

… he has never been quite certain what words he said, but he knows that he spoke, that he grasped wildly at the silver crucifix, that he was conscious of a movement towards him on the part of the demon, and that he screamed with the voice of an animal in hideous pain…

In Canon Alberic’s Scrap-book, a young Cambridge antiquary discovers the dark side of manuscript illumination, in a medieval cathedral in the French Pyrenees. In The Mezzotint, a ghoulish revenge is enacted within a work of art, before the helpless eyes of a museum curator…

On our Actor, Robert Lloyd Perry...

Robert Lloyd Parry restores the charm and pleasure of the original tales with his excellent and convincing storytelling…
- Cambridge Evening News
Performance lasts approx 100 minutes including interval.

Read an article by Robert Lloyd Parry about the inspiration behind James’s Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook here.

Also, read a BBC feature on Robert Lloyd Parry's revival of James's stories here.

On our author, M R James

Born in 1862, Montague Rhodes James developed a reading habit at an early age, preferring to stay in the library than with friends. He took this with him when he went to study at Eton and then at the King's College, Cambridge, where he became assistant in classical archaeology at the Fitzwilliam museum. After writing a dissertation: "The Apocalypse of St. Peter", he became a Fellow of King's, and then Dean. Although he was renowned in some circles for his biographies, studies into antiques, reviews and palaeography, it was his ghost stories that he would be remembered for. He was keenly engaged in examining the supernatural, and his stories were always written in a way so the reader uses their imagination. The real horror is often kept to the reader's mind. Celebrated cult horror novelist and story writer H.P. Lovecraft was a fan, and wrote a review on his work: "...gifted with an almost diabolic power of calling horror by gentle steps from the midst of prosaic daily life." he says, also adding: "Dr. James has, it is clear, an intelligent and scientific knowledge of human nerves and feelings; and knows just how to apportion statement, imagery, and subtle suggestions in order to secure the best results with his readers." Although largely ignored by filmmakers - Curse of the Demon (1957) - is one exception), his work has a dedicated fan base, and the BBC filmed several of his stories in the 1970s, wisely titling them under the series "A Ghost Story for Christmas". In 2000, horror legend Christopher Lee jumped at the chance to read four of James' stories in another Christmas special screened on BBC2. James' most famous works include "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary", "The Five Jars", "A Warning to the Curious and other Ghost Stories" and "The Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James". He was Provost of King's College from 1905-18.