Episode 11: The Monkey’s Paw by W W Jacobs

The Monkey’s Paw was written by an English author W W Jacobs and published in 1902 in his collection The Lady of the Barge. 

  • The Monkey’s Paw
  • “The Lady of the Barge”
  • “Bill’s Paper Chase”
  • “The Well”
  • “Cupboard Love”
  • “In the Library”
  • “Captain Rogers”
  • “A Tiger’s Skin”
  • “A Mixed Proposal”
  • “An Adulteration Act”
  • “A Golden Venture”
  • “Three at Table”

The Monkey’s Paw is the only one to have survived. It seems to have caught the public’s imagination and that is perhaps because it is an archetypal morality tale and has themes of not tempting fate and being too proud, themes that go back to Ancient Greek theatre.

Jacobs was born in London in 1863 and died in London during the Second World War in 1943. He was most known as a comedy writer in his time, but he also wrote #horror stories#, the most famous of which is this one: The Monkey’s Paw.

As we seem to have some interest in the political views of our writers, we note that his wife was a Suffragette (votes for women in the UK) and he had left wing views as a young man but as an older man described himself as ‘conservative and individualistic’

The Monkey’s Paw has been made into a film a number of times, first in in 1915, 1923, 1933, and in 2016.  In 1928 it was made into a radio play and again 1988 which was rebroadcast in 1993 and then another version read by Christopher Lee was made in 2004!

It’s a classic morality tale: don’t trust genies or other supernatural agents who promise you wishes, because it will all go wrong. Usually it’s because the wish twists things in a malevolent way like in this one, or the Genie or Mephistopheles takes you at your literal word.  They’re always out to trick you, don’t you know.

The Monkey’s Paw on Amazon

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