Ghosts, trains and trams: the technologies of transport in the ghost stories of M. R. James

Dublin Core

Title

Ghosts, trains and trams: the technologies of transport in the ghost stories of M. R. James

Description

‘Remember, if you please … that I am a Victorian by birth and education, and that
the Victorian tree may not unreasonably be expected to bear Victorian fruit’.1 These
words, spoken by the narrator of M. R. James’s 1925 ghost story A Neighbour’s Landmark,
can be accepted as an authentic piece of self-description on the part of their
writer. Montague Rhodes James was born in 1862 and died in 1936, living half his
life in the twentieth century, but always considered himself (and was considered by
others) to be somewhat at odds with the post-Victorian world. The son of a clergy -
man, educated at Eton College and King’s College, Cambridge, and himself serving
as Provost of King’s from 1905 to 1918 and of Eton from 1918 to 1936, James was
known as a conservative character who remained ‘steadfast in the Christian principles
of his Victorian childhood’ and ‘had little time for the post-war [i.e., First World War]
world’.2 James undoubtedly saw himself as a ‘Victorian tree’, rooted in the Victorian
era, and although the majority of his ghost stories were written after 1901 and thus
fall outside the strict chronological definition of ‘Victorian’3 they are profoundly imbued
with the Victorianism of their author.4

Creator

Ralph Harrington

Publisher

Artificial Horizon

Date

2005

Format

Essay

Essay Item Type Metadata

Citation

Ralph Harrington, “Ghosts, trains and trams: the technologies of transport in the ghost stories of M. R. James,” A Thin Ghost, accessed August 21, 2017, http://www.thin-ghost.org/items/show/203.

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License

Creative Commons License

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