"Many ... tales were penned as Christmas Eve entertainments and read aloud to select gatherings of friends. ....James perfected a method of story-telling which has since become known as Jamesian. The classic Jamesian tale usually includes the following key elements:
- a characterful setting in an English village, seaside town or country estate; an ancient town in France, Denmark or Sweden; or a venerable abbey or university
- a nondescript and rather naive gentleman-scholar as protagonist (often of a reserved nature)
- the discovery of an old book or other antiquarian object that somehow unlocks, calls down the wrath, or at least attracts the unwelcome attention of a supernatural menace, usually from beyond the grave
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