After reading one of M. R. Jamess ghost stories some years ago, I promptly forgot everything about it except the ghost itself. That image stayed with me, returning at intervals to my imagination with some of the shock of its first appearance on the page. In the library, I recalled, sat an old man in black, with a dry, dusty scalp; when he eventually turned round, the upper part of his face was seen to be covered from the eyebrows to the cheek-bones with cobwebs. In the most cerebral of settings James had placed the most physiologically repellent of images, the properties we might ascribe to the shelves transferred by a kind of metonymy to the animated corpse so unexpectedly located among them. The cobwebs are appalling to the degree that they are (just) unpredictable, (just) out of place.