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"Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book" is a horror story by British writer M. R. James, which was written in 1892 or 1893 and first published in 1895 in the National Review. It is his earliest known ghost story, and the first (along with "Lost Hearts") to be read aloud to the "Chitchat Society" at Cambridge, where many of his stories made their public debut. It was subsequently included in his first short story collection, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904).
Some have considered James' later story "An Episode of Cathedral History" (first published in The Cambridge Review in 1914 and later included in the 1919 collection A Thin Ghost and Others) to be a sequel or companion piece, as it features a similar creature, obliquely suggested to be the mate of the one encountered in "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book".
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.
In 2020, the story was adapted into a full-cast audio drama for the second season of Shadows at the Door: The Podcast.
- "Un troisième disque Sorabji par Michael Habermann" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
- The full text of Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book at Wikisource
- An omnibus collection of James's short fiction at Standard Ebooks
- Media related to Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book at Wikimedia Commons
- Full text of "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book"
- Helen Grant, "'He was laughing in the church': A Visit to St Bertrand de Comminges" in Ghosts & Scholars Newsletter no. 7 (2005).
- Works by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine