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Entry updated 9 October 2023. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916), Burma-born UK author and journalist in England from infancy; noted for the acerbic wit and grace of his fiction, almost all of it in short forms. In the late 1890s he began writing contemporary political sketches, inspired and illustrated by F Carruthers Gould, for The Westminster Gazette as by Saki, the name of the "Minister of Wine" in The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, publishing these Parodies of Lewis Carroll as The Westminster Alice (coll 1902). When William Came: A Story of London under the Hohenzollerns (1913) as by H H Munro ("Saki") is a trenchant Future War novel about a German Invasion, in which Britain's abject capitulation leads to the occupation of London; the tale was regarded by I F Clarke as the best of all such works.

Many tales of the weird and fantastic – ironic, witty, often featuring in the Edwardian manner young boys who wear the aspect of Pan, and sometimes savage enough to be thought of as examples of the conte cruel – are included in the following collections: Reginald (coll 1904), Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches (coll 1910), The Chronicles of Clovis (coll 1911) as by H H Munro ("Saki") – an assemblage including various Club StoriesBeasts and Super-Beasts (coll 1914), The Toys of Peace and Other Sketches, with Three Plays and Illustrations (coll 1919) as by H H Munro ("Saki") and The Square Egg and Other Sketches (coll 1924) as by H H Munro ("Saki"). The influence of Oscar Wilde is evident throughout his work; but so is that of Rudyard Kipling. Although over-age for active service in World War One, Munro enlisted in 1914; he was killed two years later. [JE/JC]

Hector Hugh Munro

born Akyab [now Sittwe], Burma: 18 December 1870

died Beaumont Hamel, France: 14 November 1916 [during the Battle of the Somme]




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