A. M. Burrage

Alfred McLelland Burrage (1889 – 1956) was a British writer. He was noted in his time as an author of fiction for boys which he published under the pseudonym Frank Lelland, including a popular series called "Tufty".[1] After his death, however, Burrage became best known for his ghost stories.[1]


Burrage was born in Hillingdon, London, in 1889. His father, Alfred Sherrington Burrage, and his uncle, Edwin Harcourt Burrage, were both prolific writers of magazine stories for boys. After his father died in 1906, A. M. Burrage began writing fiction, partly to support his family.[2]

He served in the Artists Rifles in the First World War.[2] Gollancz later published a memoir of Burrage's war experiences, War Is War, as "Ex-Private X". War is War received several good reviews, although it did not sell as well as Gollancz had hoped it would.[2] His humorous novel, Poor Dear Esme (1925), described by Jack Adrian as a "comic classic", was often reprinted.[2] Burrage wrote historical and romance fiction as well as supernatural stories.[2]

Burrage was a Roman Catholic.[2]

Burrage is now remembered mainly for his horror fiction, which was originally collected in the books Some Ghost Stories (1927) and Someone in the Room (1931, as by "Ex-Private X") and has been reprinted by Ash-Tree Press.[1]

Critical reception

M. R. James praised Burrage's book Some Ghost Stories, saying that the book "keeps on the right side of the line, and if about half his ghosts are amiable, the rest have their terrors, and no mean ones".[3] James later included Burrage among a list of contemporary writers who had "best realized" the possibilities of the ghost story. [4] Bleiler has described Burrage's work thus: "The best stories in SOME GHOST STORIES and SOMEONE IN THE ROOM are intelligent, well crafted, and imaginative."[1] Richard Dalby has ranked Burrage as "one of the finest English ghost story writers, alongside Benson, Wakefield and James."[5] Neil Barron has stated "Burrage's underrated short stories are deft and subtle, and include a number of poignant posthumous fantasies."[6]



  1. 1 2 3 4 E. F. Bleiler, "A. M. Burrage" in The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural (1986), edited by Jack Sullivan.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jack Adrian, "Introduction" to A. M Burrage, Someone in the Room: Strange Tales Old and New.Ash-Tree Press, (1997) ISBN 1-899562-38-9
  3. M. R. James,"Some Remarks on Ghost Stories", in The Bookman, December 1929.Reprinted in James, Collected Ghost Stories, edited by Darryl Jones. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 9780199568840 (p. 415)
  4. M. R. James, "Ghosts-Treat Them Gently!" in The Evening News,17 April 1931. Reprinted in James, Collected Ghost Stories. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011 (p.418).
  5. Richard Dalby, The Mammoth book of ghost stories London: Robinson Books. ISBN 1854870556 (p.103).
  6. Neil Barron, Horror Literature: a reader's guide London: Garland, 1990. ISBN 0824043472

Critical Studies

External links

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