The Mezzotint by M.R. James


“–ngley Hall; […] , –ssex.”

As we all know, the eponymous mezzotint has been valued at £2 2s and Mr Williams needs to investigate why so much. Little did he know it was destined to feature in the eternal posterity of a M.R. James story printed in ink. And the moving of shapes and moonlight around a house as time passes within the mezzotint imputes a seemingly chilling story in the now sometimes  Gawdy part of Essex where I live!

The ‘Sympathetic Ink’ explicitly mentioned in the climax of this story about Mr Williams and the mezzotint’s production reminds me of my recent review of the new Williamson novel (HERE) wherein its themes are significantly synchronised by me, indirectly via a John Howard book, with the works of Charles Williams (the famous ‘Inkling’ connected with C.S. Lewis)! And in the Williamson book such a sense of sympathetic ink and, indeed, of inimical ink is a major feature of its plot, using such terms as “compelling ink”, ink as “compellants” or “allurants”, and “Inksmiths”, “black, black ink”, the ultimate “ink trap”…

“….and words with which we have no concern were freely bandied across the table—“


All my ongoing reviews of M.R. James:

“It was impossible to tell if he was ink-subdued or all but dead.” – Neil Williamson

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s