The Open Window

The Open Window Edwardian England (1901-1919)

The Edwardian period was a period in England directly following the long Victorian era. King Edward VII ruled from 1901-1919 during what is known as the Edwardian Era.

The early twentieth century was a time of great technological advancement and social changes for many western nations. This was especially true in England during this time. Its imperial reach was at an all-time high, with one in three people in the world’s population under England’s imperial power (PBS). The Titanic was built during this period. Bookended by two wars (the Boer War and World War I), the Edwardian Era was a time of peace and prosperity. Some even refer to it as the “Gilded Age.” However, the era was not prosperous for everyone and class distinctions were very strong. The rich lived in excess and many were like overlords to their servants and people of lower classes.

Though H.H. Munro ultimately enlisted to defend England, many of his stories satirize the bourgeois nature of the Edwardian Era. H.H. Munro lived the very lifestyle that Saki mocked, a fact that further explains Munro’s use of a pen name: it satisfied a need to separate his satire mocking Edwardian England from the reality that he was living in that very place and pursuing the very lifestyle his stories mock.