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Paperback Seven Men Book

ISBN: 0940322544

ISBN13: 9780940322547

Seven Men

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Book Overview

In Seven Men the brilliant English caricaturist and critic Max Beerbohm turns his comic searchlight upon the fantastic fin-de-si cle world of the 1890s--the age of Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, and the young Yeats, as well of Beerbohm's own first success. In a series of luminous sketches, Beerbohm captures the likes of Enoch Soames, only begetter of the neglected poetic masterwork Fungoids; Maltby and Braxton, two fashionable novelists caught in...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

The Divine Max

Bernard Shaw called Beerbohm "the divine Max," and this collection of short pieces will tell you why. The book consists of short character sketches of six men (Beerbohm is the ever present seventh), and each one is a small masterpiece of Edwardian parody and humour. Beerbohm's line sketches of each one of his (imaginary?!) characters are included at the end of the book. Some of the tales have an unexpectedly supernatural twist (the neo-Faustian bargain struck by Enoch Soames being the best of the lot). Three cheers for the NYRB Press for bringing these forgotten gems back into print.

The juggler vs. the strong man

I first read "Seven Men" a few years back when Harold Bloom listed it as essential reading in his book on the Western canon.The book consists of short fictional portraits of various characters in the world of Edwardian arts and letters. Beerbohm was a satirist with a nimble touch -- he had the ability to poke fun at the pretensions of the art world while maintaining a gentle, bemused humanism. Sir Max seemed to view the vanity and foibles of human nature not so much with scorn as with an endless amusement, and reading any of his essays or parodies or satires is like spending the evening chatting with a wise and witty friend.Beerbohm once wrote, "How many charming talents have been spoiled by the instilled desire to do 'important' work! Some people are born to lift heavy weights. Some are born to juggle with golden balls." Beerbohm was an admitted juggler, and yet his seemingly "light" work is ultimately more insightful than most so-called serious projects. And often much funnier.Beerbohm was also quite a caricaturist, and his theater reviews (many out of print) are still great to read all these decades later.Get hold of this book and start off with the classics "Enoch Soames," the story of a third-rate poet who, convinced of his own greatness, makes a deal with the Devil in order to travel to the future to enjoy his posthumous success (with comic results), and "Savonarola Brown," a hilarious sketch of a frustrated playwright and his great "unfinished" opus.Beerbohm's contemporaries referred to him as "the incomparable Max," and it's a title that fits. I wish I could've met him.
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