Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad

The Harbour Flare (1879)

Several months ago a friend recommended
the classic ghost stories written by M.R. James.
Shortly afterwards, I was staying at the cottage
and a complete edition was on the shelf
so I read it from cover to cover,
seriously affecting my ability to sleep at night.

Evening Shadows (1881)

When I got home I fully intended to write a post
sparkling with critical analysis of the genre
but I got distracted.
Such is the story of my life.

Scarborough (1882)

Then my good blog friend, Hermes,
published pictures by John Atkinson Grimshaw
which were perfect as illustrations
and the post which would establish my reputation
as a discerning reader of literature
formed in my mind.

Wimbledon Park, Autumn After Glow (1866)

I wrote to Hermes and asked his permission
to use pictures from his blog
and he replied most generously.

Alas! the post sank without trace
because there were pictures of plates
and discussions about cake which took priority.

Dulce Domum (1885)

Hermes decided that something had to be done
so he flooded his blog with fabulous paintings
by John Atkinson Grimshaw to tempt me.
It was an embarrassment of riches.
Thank you Hermes!

A Manor House in Autumn (1881)

And the book?
Read it!
It will change your life...
I can guarantee you will never again
put your hand under the pillow
without the light on.

19 comments:

  1. Confession: although the images are intriguing, I am too much of a wimp to read these stories! I live alone in the woods in a tiny house that cannot be seen from the road. Since I have goats and chickens and (although here the term "have" does not denote actual ownership) bears, coyotes, fox and fishers, it is sometimes necessary that I leap, half-asleep, from my bed and rush outside to address whatever mid-night crisis the dog is shouting about.
    Bears, I can continue to deal with as needed, but if ghostie-shivers were added? I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'd be inclined to dive under the covers and wait for morning!

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  2. I
    am
    afraid
    just reading this post!

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  3. I'm not sure that I can. See, I am still convinced that King Kong's hairy arm is coming snaking round the u-bend to pull me into the loo and have been since I was seven. I'm such a fraidy cat.

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  4. Ooh no thank you! I don't dare read scary stories. Cookery books are much better bedtime reading fodder for me.

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  5. Sounds too scary for me--eeek!

    K x

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  6. First I was frightened and then I was convulsed with laughter at Ali's comment....

    Beautiful, beautiful paintings to illustrate your post...........

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  7. What lovely pictures!

    I will have to build up to reading that book, it sounded great until you mentioned something under the pillow :-)

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  8. I don't want to read. I want to sit in a chair and stare into space like that woman in the picture. I want to have time to do that.

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  9. too scary for MrM to read ...

    although I might read it in exchange for a coffee cake

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  10. Some of the scariest ghost stories ever written - definitely not for when you're alone in creepy house!

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  11. 15th October, Hemingford Grey Manor, RL Parry: A performance of 'O Whistle...' (Nunkie Theatre). I recommend it, but wear a coat and take someone with you so you can hold their hand.

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  12. Maybe I will give it a try....I could use some distracting.

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  13. Ms Pebble? I suggest if you offer coffee cake Mr.M may accompany you to the scary theatre show.

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  14. I am with Bb, and I am not afraid to say I am holding her hand ...

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  15. intriguing... I'm quite into the vampire thing, but ghosts? I only know about Whoopi Goldberg in that 80s Classic... ehm ehm - she says, lowering the tone of the conversation -

    I'm going to check that book out. Right now.

    (you write about literature and art... I post about freak carrots.... sigh)

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  16. I cannot do that to myself ... I don't watch horror films either, for the same reason. Yes, I am a wimp!

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  17. I saw the TV play of 'Whistle And...' starring Michael Hordern - this must have been back in the late 60s, I'm sure - and I can still recall the utter terror that film aroused in me.....

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  18. I could almost repeat the previous comment. I read the title of this blog post and my stomach turned over..honestly.
    That TV version of it was the scariest thing I've ever seen on TV.
    It was a long time ago and I can still remember every detail and would even now be reluctant to stay in a hotel room with a spare bed in it.
    Many years later when my son was about 10 he went on an adventure holiday with school. He said he'd been frightened out of his wits when they were round a campfire and one of his friends told them a ghost story....guess what?
    More recently we we about to visit the area where it was set and just before we went I heard a play on the radio about the writing of it which made me realise we were visiting the area, and I can tell you I was worried!

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  19. I could almost repeat the previous comment. I read the title of this blog post and my stomach turned over..honestly.
    That TV version of it was the scariest thing I've ever seen on TV.
    It was a long time ago and I can still remember every detail and would even now be reluctant to stay in a hotel room with a spare bed in it.
    Many years later when my son was about 10 he went on an adventure holiday with school. He said he'd been frightened out of his wits when they were round a campfire and one of his friends told them a ghost story....guess what?
    More recently we we about to visit the area where it was set and just before we went I heard a play on the radio about the writing of it which made me realise we were visiting the area, and I can tell you I was worried!

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