Over the last fortnight I’ve been listening to the first 10 installments of A Podcast to the Curious – a story-by-story journey through the M.R. James canon. As a relative newcomer to podcasts, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the banter between the hosts, Mike and Will. What I particularly like about the podcast is that the hosts do their homework beforehand – and include their sources and research on their website, here), referring, for example, to Warnings to the Curious, the splendid collection of critical writing on James, and to the Michael Cox biography. This means that their obvious enthusiasm for the stories is backed up by some informed insights that inspired this listener to pick up his hallowed copy of A Pleasing Terror and to read some of the tales with a new perspective.
So far, the podcast has covered all the tales in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – James’s most well-known volume. So it’s a perfect moment to catch up, and then launch with them into More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. I’m particularly looking forward to the hosts covering A Thin Ghost, James’s least-loved collection, and some of the less-studied stories such as ‘The Fenstanton Witch’, which will be tougher to research but therefore have a lot that’s new to say.