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BENSON, Arthur Christopher.

Le Cahier Jaune. Poems.

Eton: Privately Printed, 1892 Stock Code: 81813
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First edition of Benson's first collection of poems; number 198 of a numbered 200 copies, this one signed by the author on the title page. A. C. Benson (1862-1925) was the son of Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the brother of talented intellectuals such as the writer E. F. Benson and Egyptologist Margaret Benson. After graduating from Cambridge Benson returned to Eton (publishing this collection in the year that he was made housemaster); he went on to serve as headmaster for 18 years. Though successful as an administrator he found little joy in the routine of college life and devoted his spare time to a literary career spanning more than 60 publications. These included a substantial biography of his father, poetry, essays, the editing of the letters of Queen Victoria, and a series of sentimental, middlebrow novels that earned him rather more cash than literary laurels. In 1904 Benson became a fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he served as Master for the last ten years of his life. Perhaps disappointingly, this collection does not contain any such secret licentiousness as one might hope to find in other "yellow books" of the period, the archetype of which is of course Huysman's A Rebours. An emotionally and sexually distant man, Benson never married or had affairs with either sex. Instead, he devoted himself to academic institutions and the intellectual and moral development of the young men in his charge.

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Octavo. Original yellow card wrappers printed in black.


Generally rubbed and soiled, some loss to corners and spine, marks to early and late leaves but substantially clean within. A good copy.


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