British writer and scholar (1862-1936). Full name: Montague Rhodes James. Born in Goodnestone, Kent, where his father was the curate, he developed an interest in old books when he was very young. In fact, when he was just six years old, while recovering from bronchitis, he asked to see a 17th century Dutch Bible owned by a friend of his father's. The book was brought to him, and he reportedly spent his recovery time sitting upright in bed, studying the dusty old book.

James was a distinguished scholar, writing many articles and monographs on bibliography, paleography, and history. Thanks to his love of old books, his strong work ethic, and unusually accurate memory, he was also considered one of the foremost linguists and biblical scholars of his time. He translated the Apocryphal New Testament in 1924 and catalogued the huge manuscript collection at Cambridge, a task that took 40 years to complete.

Nowadays, James is best remembered for his ghost stories. He was fascinated by the supernatural and was an admirer of Irish mystery writer J. Sheridan LeFanu, whose ghost stories he edited. The Jamesian ghost story influenced the future writings of horror writers like H. P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. James usually based his stories around bookish scholars like himself, discovering spectral terrors while researching old churches and mansions, either in the English countryside or in dark corners of Europe. He never revealed his ghost completely, preferring to let his readers' imaginations conjure up undreamed-of terrors. He also scattered bits of comic relief and spice-of-life details through his stories to make them more realistic.

James never married and never had any children. His books, his university work, and his studies of the past were his whole life. Some of his best known works include "Canon Alberic's Scrapbook," "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad," "The Ash-Tree," "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas," and "Casting the Runes" (the basis for the classic horror film "Curse of the Demon"). If you can find his book "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary," grab it. It has most of his best stories.

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