Miscellaneous Books CWS


Savery's miscellaneous books include a thesis, a collection of short stories, and a play. They are presented here in that order, which is also the order in which they were published.

The Teaching of English Poetry . Birmingham: University of Birmingham, 1922. Thesis for Diploma in Secondary Education.

Savery does not list her thesis among her works, and the University of Birmingham only retains research theses for advanced degrees. The thesis is mentioned in a brief biography by Baker in the WILSON LIBRARY BULLETIN. Savery received the diploma after graduating Oxford in 1920 and before her 1927 MA there. Among her effects is a receipt for the Birmingham diploma dated 1922. John Gilbert, Information Assistant, who kindly conducted a search for me, was unable to trace her diploma or locate her thesis in the University of Birmingham records.

There Was a Key: Stories for Girls . Illus. by Manrico Coia. Glasgow: Brown, Son & Ferguson, Limited, 52 to 58 Darnley Street, Glasgow, 1930. 103 pp. Soft covers.

Book cover
Although their address is now 4-10 Darnley Street, Glasgow G41 2SD, the publisher, Brown, Son & Ferguson, is still in business, retains the copyright to this collection of Savery short stories, and graciously granted me permission to make a single copy. Shortly after receiving consent, I found a used copy of the book for sale on the Internet, so I did not need the copy. The subtitle, "Stories for Girls," appears on the title page and spine, but not on the front cover. The publisher's name is listed on the spine as Brown and does not appear elsewhere on the cover.
Since I have annotated the individual stories in the section devoted to short stories in annuals, my comments here refer to the collection as a whole. There is an other-worldly quality to the stories that is reminiscent of G. K. Chesterton and not at all typical of the dozens of Savery stories that would follow over the next fifteen years. Savery writes here about children, but they are seldom given names, and we do not glimpse their hearts and souls. Like Forbidden Doors , which was published the previous year, these fables attempt too much. Savery learned from this experience. Thereafter, even when she went to the past for her inspiration, she wrote of real children in a real world. NOTE (2022): I have been told that Girl Guides would recognize the stories' sequence.

No King But Christ . Cover design by Mike Sadler. Ilkeston: Moorley's Bible & Bookshop Ltd., 23 Park Road, Ilkeston, Derbyshire DE7 5DA. 1976. 31 pp.

Book cover
The play has been out of print for a number of years and is very hard to find. Although it has an attractive cover and title page, the text is mimeographed or reproduced from an original script prepared on a manual typewriter; nevertheless, the font size for the longer stage instructions is much smaller than that for the dialogue indicating that considerable effort went into the publication. The play may be presented without a performance royalty, but the publisher's permission is required to duplicate the play booklet.
The play dramatizes the martyrdom of St. Genesius (also known as Gelasinus or Gelasius) at the hands of the Emperor Diocletian in 286 or 303. A very old tradition, easily located on the Internet, says that a comedian named Genesius thought he could amuse the pagan emperor by participating in a burlesque baptism; however, when the words of the sacrament were spoken, Genesius fell silent, emerging from his dousing to declare that he was a Christian. Not amused, Diocletian ordered him tortured. When Genesius refused to recant, he was executed. Although the existence of St. Genesius does not seem to be in doubt, there is better evidence that he was a notary than an actor, and his conversion was less abrupt. His martyrdom seems established.
Seeing the dramatic possibilities of the tradition, Savery turned the story into a one-act play with four scenes. Although the stage directions may be a bit naive, i.e. "There follows a short hilarious struggle...," the play appears by turns amusing and dramatic enough for an audience open to the religious experience. There is little preaching per se : the converted Genesius speaks six sentences in support of his new-found faith, and before the burlesque begins, he gets five lines of instruction about Christianity.

This web site © 2010-22 by Eric Schonblom. The unpublished works of Constance Savery are reproduced with the permission of her literary heir and copyright owner, J. D. Hummerstone. The covers are reproduced in low resolution to respect the copyrights of their respective artists and publishers. Updated January 3, 2022.