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Sir Max Beerbohm

 

 


Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm


(August 24, 1872 – May 20, 1956) was an English parodist and caricaturist.
 

Born in London, England, the younger half-brother of actor and producer Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, he was educated at Charterhouse School and Merton College, Oxford, where he was Secretary of the Myrmidon Club. At Oxford he became part of the Oscar Wilde set, although George Bernard Shaw declared that Beerbohm was incomparable to anyone else. At this early age, he was also in much demand as a guest at the great dinner parties of Mayfair, where he was considered by many to be the greatest wit in town. His early brilliance faded all too soon, and by thirty-five he was viewed as a prematurely dull, heavy, middle-aged man.

It was at school that he began writing. His "Defence of Cosmetics" appeared in the first edition of the The Yellow Book, Aubrey Beardsley being art editor at the time. Beerbohm toured the United States while a young man as a press agent for his brother's theatrical company.

His first book, The Works of Max Beerbohm, was published in 1896. Having been interviewed by George Bernard Shaw himself, in 1898 he followed Shaw as drama critic for the Saturday Review, on whose staff he remained until 1910. From 1935 onwards, he was an occasional if popular radio broadcaster, talking on cars and carriages and music halls for the BBC. His wit is shown often enough in his caricatures but his letters contain a carefully blended humour—a gentle admonishing of the excesses of the day—whilst remaining firmly tongue in cheek. His lifelong friend Reginald Turner, who was also an aesthete and a somewhat witty companion, saved many of Max's letters.

Beerbohm's best known works include A Christmas Garland (1912), a parody of literary styles, Seven Men (1919), which includes "Enoch Soames", the tale of a poet who makes a deal with the Devil to find out how posterity will remember him, and Zuleika Dobson (1911), his only novel. Other works include The Happy Hypocrite (1897).

Beerbohm married the actress Florence Kahn in 1910. He was knighted in 1939. He died in Rapallo, Italy aged 83, shortly after marrying his former secretary, Elisabeth Jungmann. His ashes were interred in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

 


Randolph Hotel

 

 

 


Frontispiece

 


Woolner at Farringford

 


Topsy and Ned Jones, settled on the settle in Red Lion Square.

 


Mr.--------- and Miss---------- nervously perpetuating the touch of a vanished hand.

 


Swinburne and Miss Sophia Grimes

 


British Stock and Alien Inspiration

 


Ford Madox Brown being patronised by Holman Hunt

 


Riverside Scene

 


Quis Custodiet Ipsum Custodem?

 


Spring Cottage, Hampstead

 


Mr. William Bell Scott wondering what it is those fellows seem to see in Gabriel.

 


Rossetti insistently exhorted by George Meredith to come forth into the glorius sun
and wind for a walk to Hendon and beyond. 1862.

 


A Momentary Vision that once befell Young Millais

 


Swinburne, Elizabeth Siddal, and Rossetti

 


Mr. Morley of Blackburn, on an afternoon in the Spring of '69,
introduces Mr. John Stuart Mill.

 


Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in his back garden

 


The name of Dante Gabriel Rossetti is heard for the first time in the Western States of America. 1882.

 


Mr. Robert Browning, taking tea with the Browning Society

 


The Small Hours in the 'Sixties at 16, Cheyne Walk.- Algernon reading "Anactoria" to Gabriel and William.
 

 


Mr. Tennyson reading In Memoriam to his Sovereign

 


A Man from Hymettus

 


The sole remark likely to have been made by Benjamin Jowett about the mural paintings at the Oxford Union.

 


Blue China

 


Mr. Browing brings a lady of rank and fashion to see Mr.Rossetti

 


Aubrey Beardsley

 

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