The Long St. Crispin's Day

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Title: The Long St. Crispin's Day
Author(s): C.W. Walker
Date(s): May 1990
Genre: gen
Fandom: Man from U.N.C.L.E.
External Links: online here

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The Long St. Crispin's Day is a gen Man from U.N.C.L.E. story by C.W. Walker.

It was published in the zine The St. Crispin's Day Society #1.

This story was one of three discussed in an essay by Paula Smith called Satisfied?.

Reactions and Reviews


Last but not least, my favorite story, the longest in the zine: "The Long St. Crispin's Day." I don't know why this wasn't titled what it seems to cry out for: "Razor's Edge"—if it was in order not to give away one of the major points the story punctuates, my apologies to the writer and the editors for putting my foot in my mouth. It is two stories in one: the story that tells of the establishment of the foundations of uncle, interspersed with the story of a psychiatrist looking for cracks in the foundations of our two UNCLE agents in the aftermath of I harrowing mission. To be frank, on first reading, the way one story kept interrupting the other frustrated me. On consecutive readings, I found myself reading each story by itself (made easier by the differences in typeset). However, if the stories had failed to captivate me thoroughly, I wouldn't have been so irritated at their intruding on each other, and they really should be read as intended by the writer; there's a point to it. In the portion that tells of UNCLE's beginnings, I was impressed with the brief, concise glimpses we got into the "baker's dozen of misfits" that Waverly hoped to form into one effective, functional unit, and was fascinated by how it came to, essentially, an act of faith, and the need to establish a tangible symbol for that faith. In the 'present-day' portion of the story—oh, what a thankless job the hapless psychiatrist has, finding out if these two agents are still sane enough to do their jobs ("Compared to whom?" she wails), when some amount of insanity it a prerequisite for it. A satisfying read, and in the final analysis (pun intended), an excellent point.[1]


Three recent MUNCLE stories, all outstanding in various ways, to me typify this tension between romance and realism. They are "The Seventeen Days in October Affair," by J.M. D'Agostino-Toney and Terry O'Neill, Perestroika, by Elizabeth Urich, and "The Long St. Crispin's Day," by C.W. Walker...

Almost diametrically opposed to Perestroika in tone is "The Long St. Crispin's Day"; where Urich concentrates on the two men, Walker concentrates on the organization. Alone of these writers, she focuses on the romance of U.N.C.L.E.-- its ideals, its purpose, its compelling pull on righteous men. Less satisfying perhaps, she downplays the connection between Solo and Kuryakin (and Waverly and the other founders of the U.N.C.L.E.) almost to the point of two strangers on a train. They might almost be Shriners for all the personal interaction shown in the story. However, she compensates by portraying them with extreme realism (and a little dark romance) as men who by their very makeup must walk the razor's edge, though they know it will destroy them. Not only is there the danger of dying or becoming too crippled to continue the fight; they are compelled, by the kind of men they are, to serve the U.N.C.L.E. for its ideals, to fight for the good it represents. But in the fighting they must occasionally commit acts of evil, or that turn out evil, and so they inevitably contaminate themselves. Walker's story is primarily about the character of the U.N.CL.E.-how it was "born," how it affects the agents that comprise it, and how they almost joyfully allow themselves to be used up for its purposes. It is a very satisfying story. [2]


I love all of your St Crispin's Day stories, but this one was the clincher that really drew me into this fandom. The most intense scene for me is when Illya comes upon Napolean and Crane as Napolean reveals what happened to them and then Illya's quiet response afterwards. I keep coming back to that scene. I like your AU description of the beginnings of UNCLE - so very convincingly plotted. Fine job . . . very fine job. But also a bit melancholy knowing the fates of these men. Thank you. [3]


fucking hell this is amazing. such a wonderful backstory for uncle and i love all the original characters. and oh boy, it's a series! sweet. [4]


Simply beautiful. I don't remember how many times I've read this story (lots) but it always makes me cry. It's of a piece with "Sub Rosa." Thank you. [5]


  1. ^ from a review by Suzan Lovett in Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #1
  2. ^ from Satisfied? by Paula Smith
  3. ^ comment by RedQueen88 at Archive of Our Own (January 2016)
  4. ^ comment by quintin at Archive of Our Own (September 2018)
  5. ^ comment by Susieq3282 at Archive of Our Own (May 2020)