Jump to navigation Jump to acknowledgement dissertation Not to be confused with Sake.
Saki, and also frequently as H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture. Hector Hugh Munro was born in Akyab, British Burma, which was then still part of the British Raj, and was governed from Calcutta under the authority of the Viceroy of India. In 1872, on a home visit to England, Mary Munro was charged by a cow, and the shock caused her to miscarry. She never recovered and soon died. After his wife’s death Charles Munro sent his children, including two-year-old Hector, home to England. The children were sent to Broadgate Villa, in Pilton village near Barnstaple, North Devon to be raised by their grandmother and paternal maiden aunts Charlotte and Augusta in a strict and puritanical household.
In 1887, after his retirement, his father returned from Burma and embarked upon a series of European travels with Hector and his siblings. Hector followed his father in 1893 into the Indian Imperial Police and was posted to Burma, but successive bouts of fever meant his return home after only fifteen months. In 1896, he decided to move to London to make a living as a writer. While writing The Rise of the Russian Empire, he made his first foray into short story writing and published a piece called ‘Dogged’ in St Paul’s in February 1899. He then moved into the world of political satire in 1900 with a collaboration with Francis Carruthers Gould entitled «Alice in Westminster». In 1902 he moved acknowledgement dissertation The Morning Post, described as one of the ‘organs of intransigence’ by Stephen Koss, to work as a foreign correspondent, first in the Balkans, and then in Russia, where he was witness to the 1905 revolution in St Petersburg.
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At the start of the First World War Munro was 43 and officially over-age to enlist, but he refused a commission and joined the 2nd King Edward’s Horse as an ordinary trooper. He is commemorated on Pier and Face 8C 9A and 16A of the Thiepval Memorial. In 2003 English Heritage marked Munro’s flat at 97 Mortimer Street, in Fitzrovia with a blue plaque. Munro was homosexual at a time when in Britain sexual activity between men was a crime. The pen name «Saki» is most commonly assumed to be a reference to the cupbearer in the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam. Both Rothay Reynolds and Ethel Munro confirm this.
This reference is stated as fact by Emlyn Williams in his introduction to a Saki anthology published in 1978. Much of Saki’s work contrasts the conventions and hypocrisies of Edwardian England with the ruthless but straightforward life-and-death struggles of nature. The Interlopers» is a story about two men, Georg Znaeym and Ulrich von Gradwitz, whose families have fought over a forest in the eastern Carpathian Mountains for generations. Ulrich’s family legally owns the land, and so considers Georg an interloper when he hunts in the forest.
Gabriel, a naked boy sunbathing by the river, is «adopted» by well-meaning Townspeople. Lovely and charming, but also rather vague and distant, he seems bemused by his «benefactors. Asked how he managed by himself in the woods, he replies that he hunts «on four legs,» which they take to mean that he has a dog. The climax comes when a small child disappears while walking home from Sunday school. At a railway station an arrogant and overbearing woman, Mrs Quabarl, mistakes the mischievous Lady Carlotta, who has been inadvertently left behind by a train, for the governess, Miss Hope, whom she has been expecting, Miss Hope having erred about the date of her arrival.
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