Rus Articles Journal

Hector Hugh Munro - “cupbearer“ of the English humour?

“Out of a debt people dare to do that would never decide to make of pleasure“ .

This person is known for the caustic language, ironic elegance of style, gloomy, even black humour. It was read, having fun and being indignant, during lifetime, many great writers - contemporaries (G. Chesterton, Graham Green) admired it. It is compared to O. Henry and D. Parker, find common features with Kipling and Lewis Carroll. It is considered that it influenced A. Milne and Wodehouse`s creativity. Students - philologists study it and until now around the world.

“Presently it is impossible to be the non-believer. Christian apologists did not leave us anything what it would be possible not to trust in“.

the English humour in all the variety goes back to age-old times. It can be slightly detached, sweet, illogical and absurd, he can train for a new profession in cynical irony (as at O. Wilde), it can be melted into the striking satire (as at Swift). Humour Saky - special, gloomy and silly.

“Small inaccuracy relieves of the whole tons of explanations“ .

This person is known under two names: own and pseudonym. It was printed under both. Hector Hugh Munro - a “patrimonial“ name, Saky - a pseudonym. The main version of so strange pseudonym - Omar Jayam`s rubaa. In translation from Farsi “Saky“ - the cupbearer, or as still speak, kravchiya.

However there is also other version. Saky - the genus of monkeys from group of primacies of family juice, lives in South America. The similar long-tailed monkey acts in one of stories Saky, eating the owner`s parrot.

Anyway, most of researchers adheres to the first version. Saky - it is from Khayyam that is not surprising at all, considering fine knowledge the writer of the East.

“It orders the dresses in Paris, but wears them with strong English accent“ .

Saki knew what he spoke about. The English writer was also born not in England, and died not in England too, though for it. The Scot by origin, he was born in Burma - the ancient Asian country nowadays known under the name difficult to pronounce Myanmar. England, France, Russia and so on was farther, up to a shot of the German sniper. But about everything one after another.

Hector Hugh Munro was born on December 18, 1870 in Burma, in the city of Akyab (nowadays Sittuey). In 2010 at the writer and the journalist an anniversary - 140 years since birth. All ancestors of Munro served the English crown in colonies: one of grandfathers - counter - the admiral, the father - in the British military police in Burma (Burma was part of the British Empire).

When the boy was two years old, his mother visited relatives in England, there was an accident as a result of which she died. The father sent children to England on education to the grandmother and aunts.

The subject of aunts (and uncles) very often occurs in stories Saky. Probably, in the childhood to it it was not really cozy at relatives. However, the nobility we it authentically not can - his sister destroyed all papers of the brother, having left own memoirs. But it is precisely known that in the childhood he was ill much and as he often is in similar cases, read much.

“Education is necessary. Your boy will not seize properly bad habits if you do not send him to good school“ .

Hector Munro got an education excellent - the best and well-known schools for boys, then - six years` travel across Europe. After that he in the footsteps of the father went to serve to Burma. (Several years later other writer who too replaced a name - Eric Blair, he George Orwell famous to us in the same way arrived). In two years, having had malaria, Munro comes back to England. He works as the journalist and writes the first book, very unexpected: “Formation of the Russian Empire“.

Further sketches, stories, lampoons follow. He goes to work as the foreign correspondent of the The Morning Post newspaper for the Balkans, to Warsaw and to St. Petersburg. There he becomes the witness of “Bloody Sunday“. “ was a rainy day of Russia Yesterday “ is a name of article of Munro - Saki about an event which shook it, and here any more there is no hint on humour also.

In total, it stayed in Russia three years, having learned also Russian as earlier several others. Russia for the West - was always the country mysterious, hardly its smog up to the end to understand Munro. But some of his statements surprisingly of a tag, moreover - are actual still: “ In this country the hooligan and the tease uses huge freedom because the public opinion however it is strong to it opposed, seldom develops into public counteraction... “. The writer sends the hero Redzhinald to Russia too. And after death Munro`s story “The ancient city of Pskov“ was published in Great Britain.

From Russia the writer followed to France, to England again, his literary creativity was included into a blossoming time. “Clovis`s chronicles“, “Intolerable Besington“, “When came William“, “Animals and not only they“ - the best-known books Munro (Saky).

“The monogamy in the countries of the West is a custom to have one wife and only one mistress“ .

The wife at the writer and the journalist was not. Perhaps, there was no mistress also. But it - already outside this sketch as any person has full authority to leave questions of the private life “off-screen“.

“Placing cheese in a mousetrap, check that there was enough place for a mouse“ .

During World War I Hector Hugh Munro, despite age, popularity and the offer of silent work as the translator, goes the volunteer to the front. He even refused an officer rank, left the lance sergeant. On November 14, 1916 in France it was overtaken by a bullet of the German sniper. And though the bullet wound was in the head, there are certificates, as at the last minute the life he managed to make witticisms in spirit peculiar to it.

“Youth dreams that it will never come true, the old age remembers what never came true“ .

In honor of Hector Hugh Munro (Saky) in the center of London the blue memorable sign is established. His short stories were repeatedly dramatized, there were statements in theater, on radio and television (including at Hitchcock).

Hector Hugh Munro wrote about England much, deriding modern to him society. However in words and acts of his heroes echoes and “east wisdom“, and “the Russian, eternally unknown soul“ are heard.

Thanks to Munro - Saki tart wine of the English humour received new smack, became even more sustained.

PS. All quotes in the text belong G. H. Munro (Saky).