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Author Topic: CoW Ep. 186: Staff Pick 2015 – A School Story  (Read 3623 times)

danooli

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on: January 10, 2016, 01:50:11 AM
Episode 186: Staff Pick 2015 – A School Story by M. R. James

Narrated by Alasdair Stuart
Audio production by Rikki LaCoste
Originally published by the author in More Ghost Stories, 1911

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy artist and founder Barry J. Northern’s favorite story from 2015, A School Story by M. R. James and narrated by Alasdair Stuart. The story originally aired August 2, 2015 as Episode 172.

Two men in a smoking-room were talking of their private-school days. "At our school," said A., "we had a ghost's footmark on the staircase. What was it like? Oh, very unconvincing. Just the shape of a shoe, with a square toe, if I remember right. The staircase was a stone one. I never heard any story about the thing. That seems odd, when you come to think of it. Why didn't somebody invent one, I wonder?"

Click here to listen to Episode 186
Click here to read the text of A School Story by M. R. James

Original Episode 172 notes:
We present a public domain classic this week, M. R. James’ The School Story, originally published in the anthology More Ghost Stories in 1911.
And who better to narrate an English ghost story than the Lord of Pseudopod Towers, Alasdair Stuart. Alasdair is a narration regular across the fiction podcast landscape, as well as being the host of Pseudopod and co-host of EscapePod. You can follow him on Twitter, or read about everything from movies to travel to taquitos on his blog, The Man of Words.


 
Tags: Alasdair Stuart, Barry J Northern, Cast of Wonders, coin, ghost story, Horror, M. R. James, murder, public domain, Rikki LaCoste, school, Staff Pick, well, Young Adult fiction
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 08:16:12 PM by danooli »



Unblinking

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Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 03:54:52 PM
I usually like this kind of talky stories from bygone eras because I like the voice, but this one didn't really draw me in the way that other stories of the era tend to.  I guess it felt a little too... secondhand for me?



Fenrix

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Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 08:44:13 PM
This is the other James story with young men as the focus (the other being Wailing Well which ran over on PseudoPod.) There's a lot of distance built onto this one, but I love the meta-commentary in the beginning about the horror stories of boys and schools.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Devoted135

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Reply #3 on: January 17, 2016, 01:25:06 AM
I remember quite liking this one on the first listen. As a second listen... maybe a bit less so. The first time I was trying to figure out what was going on and what the Latin signified. And also if the teacher was really an ancient being from the Byzantine era. Actually, I still want to know that. :)



Fenrix

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Reply #4 on: January 17, 2016, 03:22:51 AM
I recommend giving this podcast a listen: http://www.mrjamespodcast.com/2012/02/episode-9-a-school-story/

They go through each of M R James's stories and unpack the Latin and dig into the subtleties. They also work to pull in and summarize some of the scholarly work done on each of the stories. They're enjoyable and don't require having read the stories, but listening after reading really provides additional depth.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


danooli

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Reply #5 on: January 17, 2016, 02:46:02 PM
I recommend giving this podcast a listen: http://www.mrjamespodcast.com/2012/02/episode-9-a-school-story/

They go through each of M R James's stories and unpack the Latin and dig into the subtleties. They also work to pull in and summarize some of the scholarly work done on each of the stories. They're enjoyable and don't require having read the stories, but listening after reading really provides additional depth.
oh, very cool! Thank you!



Devoted135

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Reply #6 on: January 17, 2016, 04:07:05 PM
I recommend giving this podcast a listen: http://www.mrjamespodcast.com/2012/02/episode-9-a-school-story/

They go through each of M R James's stories and unpack the Latin and dig into the subtleties. They also work to pull in and summarize some of the scholarly work done on each of the stories. They're enjoyable and don't require having read the stories, but listening after reading really provides additional depth.
oh, very cool! Thank you!

Agreed! Thanks!



Fenrix

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Reply #7 on: January 23, 2016, 02:47:57 PM

This is the other James story with young men as the focus (the other being Wailing Well which ran over on PseudoPod.) There's a lot of distance built onto this one, but I love the meta-commentary in the beginning about the horror stories of boys and schools.


I forgot another bit of meta-commentary. The story title itself points to an entire subgenre of youth oriented fiction that's been going for centuries. The most notable example for modern audiences is, of course, Harry Potter.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Ariadnes-thread

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Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 12:18:46 AM
Just listened to this one (I just subscribed to Cast of Wonders so I'm catching up-- loving it so far!). Normally I'm very much not one for ghost stories, but this was a lot of fun. I'm a Latin teacher myself, so I found that dimension particularly delightful; I think it really upped the creepy factor for me that I understood all of the Latin sentences before the translation.