London: Methuen & Co, .
First edition. vi, 118 pp. Printed by Morrison & Gibb, Edinburgh. First and last leaves are blanks. 1 vols. Sm. 8vo. Presentation Copy, in St. Petersburg, 1904. Publisher's red cloth, spine and upper board titled in gilt. Bookplate. With clipping of The Man of Parcels from The Westminster Gazette on front pastedown and flyleaf. Very good. Red morocco backed slipcase Item #322169
Inscribed on the first blank:
“Rachel King, her book,/ with the compliments of / the Perpetrator/ H.H. Munro/ St. Petersburg/ December 1904.”
Collection of 15 sardonic tales and vignettes of Edwardian life and the jaded, sharp-witted, “exquisite young man named Reginald” (ODNB). Munro (1870-1915) had been publishing political commentary in the Westminster Gazette since 1900, and went to the Balkans and eastern Europe and Paris as a special correspondent from 1902 to 1908. “The Man of the Parcels” (Westminter Gazette 29 October 1902) on the front endpapers was reprinted as as “Judkin of the Parcels” in Reginald in Russia (1910). In the autumn and winter of 1904, he was in St. Petersburg, Russia, where this presentation copy was signed.
“Original though his best work is, its line of descent is clear: his epigrammatic style and witty, amoral young men such as Clovis Sangrail derive from Oscar Wilde, his fantastical humour owes much to Lewis Carroll, and some of his grimmer stories, like his politics, put him close to Kipling. In his turn he influenced comic writers of the next generation such as A. A. Milne, Noël Coward, and P. G. Wodehouse” (ODNB).
Munro was politically conservative, homosexual, and his satire of English life and hypocrisy was ruthless. He enlisted in August 1914 and refused a commission. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet in November 1916. Presentation copies of his books are categorically rare.
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