Saki, 1870-1916

Portrait

Biographical note

Hector Hugh Munro, better known by the pen name Saki.

British writer, whose witty and sometimes macabre stories satirized Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story and is often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. His tales feature delicately drawn characters and finely judged narratives.

In addition to his short stories (which were first published in newspapers, as was the custom of the time, and then collected into several volumes) he also wrote a full-length play, The Watched Pot, in collaboration with Charles Maude; two one-act plays; a historical study, The Rise of the Russian Empire, the only book published under his own name; a short novel, The Unbearable Bassington; the episodic The Westminster Alice (a Parliamentary parody of Alice in Wonderland), and When William Came, subtitled A Story of London Under the Hohenzollerns, an early alternate history. He was influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, and Kipling, and himself influenced A. A. Milne, Noël Coward, and P. G. Wodehouse.

Works

Novels

Short stories

Non-fiction

  • The Rise of the Russian Empire (history) [1900]
  • "The Woman Who Never Should" (political sketch, in Westminster Gazette, July 22) [1902]
  • The Not So Stories (political sketches, in Westminster Annual) [1902]
  • The Westminster Alice (political sketches, with F. Carruthers Gould) [1902]

Plays

  • "The Watched Pot" (with Charles Maude) [1924]
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