By Simon Goldhill
So starts A Very Queer kin Indeed, which introduces us to the intense Benson relations. Edward White Benson grew to become Archbishop of Canterbury on the top of Queen Victoria’s reign, whereas his spouse, Mary, was once well known for her wit and charm—the leading minister as soon as questioned no matter if she used to be “the cleverest lady in England or in Europe.” The couple’s six precocious young children incorporated E. F. Benson, celebrated author of the Mapp and Lucia novels, and Margaret Benson, the 1st released lady Egyptologist.
What pursuits Simon Goldhill such a lot, despite the fact that, is what went on behind the curtain, which used to be much more strange than somebody might think. Inveterate writers, the Benson kinfolk spun out novels, essays, and hundreds of thousands of letters that open beautiful new perspectives—including what it may suggest for an grownup to kiss and suggest marriage to a twelve-year-old lady, how faith in a family members may help or ruin relationships, or how the demise of a kid might be celebrated. No different family members has left such unique documents approximately their such a lot intimate moments, and in those striking money owed, we see how family members lifestyles and a family’s realizing of itself took form in the course of a time while psychoanalysis, medical and historic demanding situations to faith, and new methods of wondering society have been constructing. this is often the tale of the Bensons, however it can be greater than that—it is the tale of the way society transitioned from the excessive Victorian interval into modernity.
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Additional resources for A Very Queer Family Indeed: Sex, Religion, and the Bensons in Victorian Britain
A Very Queer Family Indeed: Sex, Religion, and the Bensons in Victorian Britain by Simon Goldhill