Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
James Gang

An Affinity Group of Ghost-Story writers working in the tradition of M R James. The term was first used in print by Mike Ashley (in "The James Gang: The Disciples of M.R. James" 1988 Horrorstruck 10), though it had been in use among Jamesian scholars for years. Membership of the JG varied from those who were friends, such as A C Benson and E F Benson – though their ghost stories showed only occasional Jamesian influence – to others who wrote extensively in the Jamesian manner, such as Arthur Gray (1852-1940), Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, whose Tedious Brief Tales of Granta and Gramarye (coll 1919) shows a clear Jamesian influence. Other noted members of the group include: R H Malden (1879-1951), Dean of Wells and a friend of James for 30 years, whose Nine Ghosts (coll 1943) is explicit in its Jamesian influence; A N L Munby (1913-1974), librarian of King's College, Cambridge, and author of The Alabaster Hand (coll 1949); L T C Rolt (1910-1974), author of Sleep No More (coll 1948) and many others; E G Swain (1861-1938), Chaplain of King's College, Cambridge, and a close friend of James, author of The Stoneground Ghost Tales (coll 1912); and H Russell Wakefield (1888-1964), a prolific writer of ghost stories whose work includes Ghost Stories (coll 1932) and A Ghostly Company (coll 1935). Among contemporary writers members of the JG are John Gordon, notably for The House on the Brink (1970), and Ramsey Campbell, some of whose ghost stories show an evident Jamesian influence, particularly "The Guide" (1989), an out-and-out tribute to James. [PK]

further reading: The James Gang: A Bibliography of Writers in the M.R. James Tradition (1991 chap) by Rosemary Pardoe.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.