Beasts and Superbeasts: the short fictions of Saki
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT52
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
We will investigate how a necessarily closeted gay man, writing in Edwardian times, used wit and humour to create some of the most original short stories in English. We will look in particular at Saki’s use of animals and children as critics of adult behaviour and his range of techniques for surprising the reader. We will consider how aspects of Saki’s writing may reflect his sexuality at a time when this could not be referred to in any way.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We will read and discuss several stories including an early Wildean comic piece involving Reginald and then
Saki’s treatment of the supernatural (Gabriel-Ernest), murderous hatred (Sredni Vashtar), a talking animal
(Tobermory), a terrorist attack (The Easter Egg) and a brilliant teenage liar (The Open Window). Other stories
will be recommended for further reading.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Understand Saki’s significance as a short story writer of the Edwardian period.
Appreciate the originality of his satire and humour.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
All levels are welcome. The course requires an interest in the short story as a form.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
We will read the stories together and discuss how they function. There is no work outside the class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
The tutor will provide all reading materials.
Bring a pen and notepad.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other Fiction courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/courses under History, Culture and Writing/literature/fiction.
Laurie Smith has taught poetry writing and literature courses at the City Lit for some years, focussing on modernism and writers' radicalism. He researches and lectures at King's College London, helped to found Magma poetry magazine which he sometimes edits and has been a Trustee of the Poetry Society.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.