Reginald, published in 1904, was the first of Saki's collections of short stories. The eponymous Reginald is an effete, cynical young man-about-town whose character is a vehicle for Saki's delicious biting wit satirizing Edwardian high society.
Hector Hugh Munro, better known by his pen name, "Saki", was born in Burma in 1870, where his father was a senior official in the Burma Police. From the age of two, he lived with two maiden aunts and his grandmother in Devon and was educated in Exmouth and at the Bedford Grammar School. Later he travelled in Europe with his father. He joined the Burma police but resigned after a year because of ill health and returned to England, where he began his writing career as a journalist and short story writer for magazines and newspapers such as The Westminster Gazette, in which the Reginald stories first appeared.
Saki is regarded as a master of the short story. At the start of the First World War, he refused a commission, enlisted as a private, and went to France, where, in November 1916, he was killed by a shot to the head, his last words being, "Put that bloody cigarette out."
Public Domain (P)2014 Spiders' House Audio
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
I don't know about you, but if one more person exclaims, "That's so Downton!" as if Fellowes single-handedly discovered La Belle Epoque, I may do something regrettable with a pair of canvas pliers and a staple gun.
I prefer true Edwardiana, not an imaginary version of it, and this is an excellent example of it.
Reginald is a fictional character who could have existed in no other time, and could have been created by no one except that master of satire, Saki. As Richard Bleiler has said, Reginald "delights in exposing social pretentions and wreaking genteel but devastating havoc."
Here are all the stories from the1904 collection REGINALD, including the seasonally appropriate, REGINALD ON CHRISTMAS PRESENTS: "Unlike the alleged good woman of the Bible, I'm not above rubies." (As he proved many times).
In Saki's 1910 collection, REGINALD, there is a story called THE SOUL OF LAPLOSHKA in which the author says, "Hating anything in the way of ill-mannered gossip ourselves, we are always grateful to those who do it for us and do it well."
He might have been speaking of Reginald.
Like many of Wilde's characters, he is deliciously wicked and witty, and one might find him wearing after a time. But would one want to do without him all together? I think not!
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