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Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book

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Canon Alberic's Scrap-book
by M.R. James
Scrapbook02 13cd22d9cc.jpg
Illustration by James McBryde
Genre(s)Horror short story
Publication date1895

"Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book" is a horror story by British writer M. R. James, which was written in 1894 and published the following year in the National Review. It was included in his first short story collection, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary of 1904.

Plot summary

The story has a detailed and realistic setting in the tiny decaying cathedral city of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, at the foot of the Pyrenees in southern France. An English tourist spends a day photographing the interior of the eponymous cathedral and is encouraged by the sacristan to buy an unusual manuscript. This, he concludes, had been created long ago by Canon Albéric de Mauléon (an invented character, said to be a collateral descendant of the real 16th century bishop Jean de Mauléon), who had cut up volumes in the old cathedral library. A disturbing illustration of King Solomon and a demon in the back of the book is a key to the story's suspenseful arc.


The story has inspired a musical composition by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, St. Bertrand de Comminges: "He was laughing in the tower", first performed in 1985 by Yonty Solomon.[1]

In 2020, the story was adapted into a full-cast audio drama for the second season of Shadows at the Door: The Podcast.


  1. ^ "Un troisième disque Sorabji par Michael Habermann" (PDF).
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Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book
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