HECTOR HUGH MUNRO
Saki's stories blend laughter and savagery with startling effect. His first book, The Rise of the Russian Empire (1889), was the only one written in a serious vein. Thereafter, he adopted the pseudonym 'Saki' (the name of the cup-bearer in the last stanza of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam) for his collection of short stories: Reginald (1904), Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches (1910), The Chronicles of Clovis (1912) and Beasts and Superbeasts (1914). Whimsical in their plots and light heartedly cynical in their tone, those stories are also given a darker side by Munro's memories of his unhappy childhood with his aunts. He also published two novels, The Unbearable Bassington (1912) and When William Came (1913), the latter a satirical fantasy subtitled 'A Story of London under the Hohenzollerns'. Two collections of stories and sketches appeared posthumously: The Toys of Peace and Other Papers (1919) and The Square Egg and Other Sketches (1924).