Casting the Runes: The Letters of M.R. James edited by Jane Mainley-Piddock
Hardcover – Unbound – Oct 2023 – 256 pages
The much-loved author Montague Rhodes James is best known today for his ghost stories. Their popularity has kept them in print since the first collection was issued in 1931, and they’ve earned a cult following. But for all this literary success, his lifetime’s correspondence has remained inaccessible in a Cambridge University archive – until now.
This first ever collection of his personal letters has been meticulously curated, transcribed and annotated by Jamesian scholar Jane Mainley-Piddock to offer an unprecedented and overdue insight into a great and singular mind. Through notoriously illegible handwriting, we learn of James’s fear of spiders and his love of cats; his musings on the work of other contemporary authors; and a whole life’s thoughts on a host of subjects – which shed light on the man himself: his family, his work, his relationships and preoccupations.