A Book of Modern Essays

By Bruce Welker McCullough; Edwin Berry Burgum | Go to book overview

A RELIC*

MAX BEERBOHM

(One always thinks of Max Beerbohm as a young man. Yet he was born in London in 1872, and was graduated from Merton College at Oxford just in time to arrive once more in London when the mid-nineties were advertising the end of the century. The phrase meant, of course, to Aubrey Beardsley and his satellites, the emergence of a new "period," which under their conspicuously esthetic leadership should be quite free from the namby-pamby morality of Victorianism. Max Beerbohm was too self-critical, perhaps too shy, for leadership in fin-de-siécle-ism. But he was young, and the movement was impregnated with the irrepressible gaiety, even in satire, of young men. And "the incomparable Max," who is one of the few survivors of a group of men who died young, has carried on into the heart of a new century their vivacious criticism of a world which appeared so easily comprehensible to a writer of parts.

The years have softened the mannerisms, which were as conspicuous as the satire, of his first book, called with the nonchalant egotism of the group, The Works of Max Beerbohm ( 1896). They have brought ease and grace to a style that had been labored and self-conscious. They have deepened the quality of his satire, though they have not succeeded in souring it. And they have multiplied the media for its expression. Max Beerbohm's more recent works have been pictorial, rather than verbal. Perhaps he will be longest remembered for his caricatures of British personalities in politics and in letters, from his resuscitation of Rossetti and his Circle down to his contemporary portraits of

____________________
*
From And Even Now. E. P. Dutton & Co., 1921.

-225-

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A Book of Modern Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • "Highbrow" and "Lowbrow" 1
  • What is a Puritan? 17
  • Portrait of a Family 45
  • The Norwegian Migration to America 63
  • The West and American Ideals 79
  • The Once Open Road 101
  • Sentimental America 113
  • Louisiana: (Madame de la Louisiane) 127
  • Fez 141
  • The Rhythm of Life 147
  • Summer 153
  • On an Unknown Country 161
  • Ideals and Day-Dreams 169
  • Castles in Spain 187
  • Science and the Faith of the Modern 201
  • On Friendship 219
  • A Relic 225
  • The Cheerful Breakfast Table 235
  • Conversation 249
  • Trivia 259
  • On Jargon 265
  • Names Practical and Poetic 285
  • The American Language 297
  • What the American Rhodes Scholar Gets from Oxford 321
  • Literary Taste 339
  • Dickens 347
  • The Vicar of Wakefield 365
  • Don Quixote 373
  • The Novel Démeublé 389
  • The Politics of Martha and of Mary 397
  • Autumn Tints in Chivalry 419
  • Index of Authors 431
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