‘A Warning to the Curious’ : The ‘Nicely Managed’ Mind of M. R. James

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Title

‘A Warning to the Curious’ : The ‘Nicely Managed’ Mind of M. R. James

Description

The ghost stories of M. R. James, considered by many to be the best in the English language, are currently enjoying critical attention. Yet despite their richness in imagery suggestive of modern critical concerns - sexuality, cultural/political anxieties - this paper argues that James's gothic imagination was spurred by a particular cognitive condition which distinguished the scholar/author. Arguing that James's intellectual outlook which was noted as perplexing by his contemporaries and biographers, was the result of an autistic spectrum condition, this paper aims to demonstrate how James's cognitive style dictated his choice of literary form and narrative style. The analysis explores the way in which James's insistence on 'reticence' in the creation of horror reflects his own essential nature, and argues that James 'managed' his fear of change and the uncontrollable in and through his fiction - all of which resulted in significant innovations in the ghost story form.

Creator

Maria Purves

Publisher

PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts

Date

2009

Format

Essay

Essay Item Type Metadata

Citation

Maria Purves, “‘A Warning to the Curious’ : The ‘Nicely Managed’ Mind of M. R. James ,” A Thin Ghost, accessed October 19, 2017, http://www.thin-ghost.org/items/show/170.

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License

Creative Commons License

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