“A Warning to the Curious” (1925)

Creators

M. R. James (writer).

Extent

Read in 2017.

Subject

A stalking barrow wight protecting an Anglo-Saxon crown supposedly preventing an invasion of England since the early middle ages.

Commentary

More awkward, self-conscious prose; the opening sentence reads “The place on the east coast which the reader is asked to consider is Seaburgh.” Here, James dismisses his own environmental descriptions as “the word-painting business”, supposedly encumbering the reader with “commonplace details”. I would have preferred him crossing the line from a trifling ghost story into a larger fantasy; he gets pretty close with the skeletal tracks in the sand.

fiction text