Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quote of the Day (‘Saki,’ on the Difference Between the Young and the Old)

“The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened.” —British (Burman-born) short story author Hector Hugh Munro, aka Saki (1870-1916), “Reginald at the Carlton,” from Reginald (1904)

A century ago yesterday, the British author Hector Hugh Munro lost his life, as did so many other soldiers of a literary bent, in the killing fields of France during WWI. (“Put that bloody cigarette out!”, he warned one of his men, afraid that it might catch the attention of a German sniper. Unfortunately, those last words of his proved all too correct.)

At 45, however, unlike poets Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke, he was able to leave a relatively sizable literary output because he wrote prolifically. His heavily anthologized short stories range from the mischievous (“Tobermory,” on the surprising things a cat comes out with once taught how to speak) to the macabre.

In the British paper The Guardian, Stephen Moss offers a fine assessment of why Saki may be due for a revival due to his “brutal dismantling of human stupidities.”

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