James is, among many things, one of the finest ghost story writers of all time. His ability to slowly raise dread and create truly horrific depictions in a few pages is, for the most part, unrivaled. When I lecture about horror, which I’m wont to do in front of classrooms, I usually make the argument that there are essentially two ways to make truly effective horror: through dread and through awe. Awe-based horror is the essential feeling of something otherworldly or “wrong.” Dread-based horror is, just as it sounds, the slow building of tension that creates a mounting feeling of dread or terror. Most good horror, in my opinion, does one or the other of these (if not, sometimes, both). James often managed to convey both of these kind of horrors.
Thursday, 9 June 2016
Lost Hearts and Sleepless Nights
Up-and-coming author Chloe N. Clark has an interesting article about M.R. James and the influence he exerted over her younger self.