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Beasts and Super-Beasts
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About the Author

Hector Hugh Munro (18 December 1870 - 14 November 1916), better known by the pen name Saki, and also frequently as H. H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story, and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling, he himself influenced A. A. Milne, Noel Coward and P. G. Wodehouse. Besides his short stories (which were first published in newspapers, as was customary at the time, and then collected into several volumes), he 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, a fantasy about a future German invasion and occupation of Britain. The pen name "Saki" may be a reference to the cupbearer in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a poem mentioned disparagingly by the eponymous character in "Reginald on Christmas Presents" and alluded to in a few other stories. This reference is stated as fact by Emlyn Williams in his introduction to a Saki anthology published in 1978. However, "Saki" may also or instead be a reference to the South American monkey of that name, which at least two commentators, Tom Sharpe and Will Self, have connected to the "small, long-tailed monkey from the Western Hemisphere" that is a central character in "The Remoulding of Groby Lington." Munro started his writing career as a journalist for newspapers such as the Westminster Gazette, the Daily Express, the Morning Post, and magazines such as the Bystander and Outlook. His first book The Rise of the Russian Empire, a historical study modelled upon Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, appeared in 1900, under his real name. From 1902 to 1908 Munro worked as a foreign correspondent for the Morning Post in the Balkans, Warsaw, Russia (where he witnessed Bloody Sunday), and Paris. He then gave up foreign reporting and settled in London. Many of his stories from this period feature Reginald and Clovis, young men-about-town who take mischievous delight in the discomfort or downfall of their conventional, pretentious elders."

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