Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936) was indeed an antiquary. He was a medievalist, holding a number of distinguished seats in the great Universities, at different parts of his career.
However what he is best known for, is the way he modernised the Ghost story.
From Wikipedia I lift this;
“James perfected a method of story-telling which has since become known as Jamesian. The classic Jamesian tale usually includes the following elements:
- a characterful setting in an English village, seaside town or country estate; an ancient town in France, Denmark or Sweden; or a venerable abbey or university
- a nondescript and rather naive gentleman-scholar as protagonist (often of a reserved nature)
- the discovery of an old book or other antiquarian object that somehow unlocks, calls down the wrath, or at least attracts the unwelcome attention of a supernatural menace, usually from beyond the grave
According to James, the story must “put the reader into the position of saying to himself, ‘If I’m not very careful, something of this kind may happen to me!”
Accordingly, may I present a small sample from the very long shelf of books by this author;
You may also enjoy this delightful compendium of 13 Things You Didn’t Know About M. R. James