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Renowned for his witty dialogue and macabre humor, Saki skewered the pretensions and follies of the Edwardian age. This 1911 collection of well-plotted, acerbic short stories showcases his mastery of comic repartee. The tales recount the escapades of an irreverent socialite, Clovis Sangrail--a forerunner to the aristocratic Bertie Wooster of Jeeves fame. Saki's satires remain remarkably contemporary, offering paradoxical combinations of good-natured irony and cheerful cruelty. This compact anthology features some of his most popular stories, including "Sredni Vashtar," "Tobermory," "Esmé," and "Mrs. Packletide's Tiger." One of the author's latter-day disciples, A. A. Milne, offers an informative Introduction to this delightful taste of vintage Saki.
The third in the Modern Library's series of original compilations, The Raven and the Monkey's Paw is a collection of classic tales and poems to engage our fear-seeking senses. The beauty of these stories and poems lies in their readability: ideal for sharing aloud around the campfire or for a quick, thrilling dip . . . under the covers with a flashlight. The writing itself sends as many awe-inspired shivers down the spine as do the ghosts and goblins on these pages. Edgar Allan Poe, the master of the horror story and the chiming lyric poem, opens the volume with his best-loved stories: "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Black Cat," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Premature Burial," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "Berenice," and "Ligeia." Every bit as chilling now as on the day they were written, these tales retain their power to stir the reader again and again. Poe, who was as well known for his poems as for his stories, is also represented by such verse standards as "The Raven," "Lenore," "To Helen," "Ulalume," and "Annabel Lee," among others. Numerous other practitioners of the supernatural story are included: Edith Wharton, with her gripping "Afterward"; Charles Dickens and his famed ghost story "The Signalman"; W. W. Jacobs, with this com-pilation's inspiration, "The Monkey's Paw." Also here are Saki's engrossing "Sredni Vashtar"; O. Henry's story of love lost and hopes dashed, "The Furnished Room"; Wilkie Collins's lively "A Terribly Strange Bed"; and "The Boarded Window," Ambrose Bierce's tale of the bizarre. A year-round collection for reading aloud--and frightening your friends--The Raven and the Monkey's Paw will gratify all manner of thrill-seekers.The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
Born in Burma in 1870, Scottish writer H. H. Munro adopted the pseudonym Saki to satirize the social conventions, cruelty, and foolishness of the Edwardian era. His highly readable blend of flippant humor and outrageous inventiveness is often overlaid with a mood of horror. After Munro's untimely death in action during World War I, Christopher Morley wrote: "the empty glass we turn down for him is the fragile, hollow-stemmed goblet meant for the finest champagne; it is of the driest."Readers can sample Munro's special brand of well-plotted satiric fiction in this inexpensive collection of his best tales. In addition to the title story, selections include "Tobermory," "Laura," "The Open Window," and "The Schartz-Metterklume Method." With its biting wit and vein of cruelty, Munro's work has sometimes been compared to early Evelyn Waugh; admirers of Waugh and other discerning readers are sure to savor this stimulating taste of vintage Saki.
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