archive.org have audio recordings of five adaptations of Saki stories by BBC Radio, originally broadcast in 2005.
Here’s the link: https://archive.org/details/bbc-saki
Now there’s a sentence I would never have imagined myself typing. A reader kindly sent me the following link:
I might have a go at tracking down the translator. I’ve so many questions about how this project came about, which particular stories were chosen and what Munro’s status or reputation is in Iran. Watch this space, as they say.
(With thanks to Roger Allen)
Looking up Saki first editions online, I came across this picture of the wonderful artwork for the original edition of The Chronicles of Clovis, possibly inspired by the beginning of ‘The Quest’, in which Clovis is reclining in a hammock (though he’s described there as “dozing”, so the book and pencil don’t quite fit).
I’ve commented several times in this blog on Munro’s love of art, and we know from his letters to his publisher that he had some input into the design:
Your favour of the covers of “Clovis” to hand. The red with lettering (which I have marked I.) seems to me the best in all particulars save one, viz: the amended drawing of the leg in the green cover (marked II.) is a distinct improvement. on [sic] the other hand I think the extra touches of shading in that cover take away from the simplicity of the design and spoil the “white flannel” effect. So if we can have the No. I. cover with the amended leg but with additional shadings of No. II. I think that will do very well.
(letter of 13 August 1911)
Now if only I had a spare $400…
Original link at Abebooks.com: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=22900573745
I completely forgot to mention that my article on the genesis of The Chronicles of Clovis (which was originally to be called Beasts and Super-Beasts) was published last October in the journal Articles, Notes and Queries (ANQ).
It examines the differences between the versions of stories published in periodicals and the revised versions collected in the book. I trace the writing and publication history and speculate a little on the reasons for the changes.
The article can be found here, though access is unfortunately not free: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0895769X.2021.1979929
Gaston, Bruce. “Reconstructing the Original Beasts and Super-Beasts by ‘Saki,’ or How a Short Story Collection Took Shape.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews. 12 Oct. 2021. Online: https://doi.org/10.1080/0895769X.2021.1979929 (08.02.22)
Brian Gibson, well known to readers of this website as the author of Reading Saki, has published an article on Munro’s writings during the First World War. It can be found in the journal First World War Studies and is entitled “‘For the duration of the war’: The radical self-abnegation and anti-anthropocentrism of Munro/Saki’s front-line writings”.
Here’s the abstract, reproduced from the journal’s homepage:
With the advent of the First World War, H. H. Munro (1870–1916), eagerly enlisting at 43, attempted to patriotically simplify his selves, conscripting his authorial persona, Saki – whose fiction usually shimmers with metamorphosis and surprise – for jingoistic exhortations and denunciations of unmanly non-soldiers in ‘An Old Love’ (in the Morning Post) and four pieces for the 22nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers’ Fortnightly Gazette, April to June 1915. Yet this reductively pro-Empire, pro-military stance turned into a self-distancing retreat from the front lines after Lance-Sergeant Munro arrived in Northern France in late 1915. In the radically self-reflexive and self-reflective story ‘For the Duration of the War’, Saki parodies the poem from which his pseudonym-persona had sprung, pokes fun at his fiction’s dominant themes – especially Fate and savage nature – and even questions the point of literature at a time of war. And in his final two works, set near the front, Munro and/or Saki muddies the genre, removes himself far more from events (as if anticipating his death), and questions the artifice of writing itself amid his species’ ravaging of the natural landscape. In ‘The Square Egg’, Munro/Saki offers one-part essay and one-part story, with the former written at a marked remove and the latter told by an unidentified ‘Acquaintance’. In ‘Birds of the Western Front’, Munro/Saki relates a detached study of bird-life in and around the trenches, the ‘one’ of the narrative-voice no unitary, pro-England spokesman but a barely human observer of winged wild creatures. These final writings by Munro and/or Saki are both radical and transcendent, looking beyond the soldier-self and the author-self at the non-human world to offer a pointed, poignant selflessness at a time of mass European self-annihilation. There is a profound generosity through self-effacement that is not seen in any of the works by the major English writers of the war.
First World War Studies, Volume 11, 2020 – Issue 1.
On the internet, if you dig beneath the pictures of people’s food or cats and the anonymous abuse of figures in public life, you sometimes come across herculean efforts of single-interest obsessiveness like the Fiction Mags Index, which indexes thousands of magazines, including “pulp” magazines, and their contents. It has listings for both “H.H. Munro” and “Saki”, which are interesting because the details given mostly refer to reprints of the stories, usually in American or Australian magazines — information that is (as far as I know) not to be found elsewhere.
My title comes from an (anonymous) article on Munro published in The Argosy in September 1937, which also republished ‘The Mouse’ (from Reginald in Russia). I may have a go at tracking down the article — the title is intriguing, to say the least.
A very random link today – here’s ‘The Lost Sanjak’ from Reginald in Russia in Esperanto:
And before you ask: no, I can’t read it…
It’s rather been overtaken by events in the last week, but here’s a link to an article comparing the Julian-Assange-and-Wikileaks-saga to Saki’s story ‘Tobermory’.
Thanks to Juan Facundo Araujo for pointing it out to me.
A new reading/adaption of ‘Tobermory’ has been posted on the BBC website. It can be found here:
There are five other Saki short stories currently available on their website too. The link for these is:
and the stories are the following:
These five were broadcast on BBC Radio Extra, which is often used to repeat material; in this case it’s not clear whether these are new recordings or whether they have been previously broadcast.
Finally, Saki is discussed in BBC Radio 4’s ‘Open book’ programme about 20 minutes in:
The programmes are also available via the BBC iplayer app and its successor/replacement, the fairly stupidly named “BBC Sounds”. Some BBC content is, unfortunately, only available within the UK. (Being in Germany, I couldn’t access the ‘Tobermory’ reading.)
Many thanks to Rob MacGregor for the links.
The New York Times’s online archive contains a review from August 25, 1981 of A.J. Langguth’s biography of Munro. You can access it here.