The hunters of humanity: creatures of horror in M. R. James's ghost stories

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Oryshchuk, Nataliya (2017)

In his ghost stories, M.R. James disclosed the most irrational and fearful aspects of archaic demonology still haunting the modern world. He turns humans into prey species, hunted and haunted by repulsive insect- and spider-like demons. This paper offers a closer look at the creatures of horror and the recurrent theme of the hunt in James's ghost stories, viewing them in the context of Victorian evolutionary theories as well as traditional medieval beliefs. James's protagonists, unimaginative and unadventurous scholars, suddenly come face to face (or face to tentacle) with the enormity of the Universe and its non-human creatures as they invade and shatter the homely Edwardian world. From this perspective, James's works express the social and cultural fears of his generation.
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