A Very Beerbohm Christmas
December 24, 2013 10:44 PM   Subscribe

Presenting A Christmas Garland woven through with festive stories and essays by H*nry J*m*s, R*dy*rd K*pl*ng, Th*m*s H*rdy, H.G. W*lls, G**rg* B*rn*rd Sh*w, and many other worthies from the Edwardian literary c*n*n!

Updike called Max Beerbohm's A Christmas Garland "the liber aureus of parody," and Henry James hailed the book at publication as "the most intelligent that has been produced in England for many a long day." (Though privately, James found Beerbohm's aping of his prose entirely too intelligent, and out of self-consciousness he could not write for days after reading it.)
posted by Iridic (6 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The James parody is spot-on:
It occurred to him as befitting Eva's remoteness, which was a part of Eva's magnificence, that her voice emerged somewhat muffled by the bedclothes. She was ever, indeed, the most telephonic of her sex. In talking to Eva you always had, as it were, your lips to the receiver. If you didn't try to meet her fine eyes, it was that you simply couldn't hope to: there were too many dark, too many buzzing and bewildering and all frankly not negotiable leagues in between. Snatches of other voices seemed often to intertrude themselves in the parley; and your loyal effort not to overhear these was complicated by your fear of missing what Eva might be twittering. "Oh, you certainly haven't, my dear, the trick of propinquity!" was a thrust she had once parried by saying that, in that case, he hadn't—to which his unspoken rejoinder that she had caught her tone from the peevish young women at the Central seemed to him (if not perhaps in the last, certainly in the last but one, analysis) to lack finality. With Eva, he had found, it was always safest to "ring off." It was with a certain sense of his rashness in the matter, therefore, that he now, with an air of feverishly "holding the line," said "Oh, as to that!"
posted by 23 at 1:40 AM on December 25, 2013

I love Max Beerbohm. Zuleika Dobson is a gem.
posted by Mchelly at 4:13 AM on December 25, 2013

My favorite is the Conrad:
The roofs of the congested trees, writhing in some kind of agony private and eternal, made tenebrous and shifty silhouettes against the sky, like shapes cut out of black paper by a maniac who pushes them with his thumb this way and that, irritably, on a concave surface of blue steel.
posted by No-sword at 4:56 AM on December 25, 2013

posted by Segundus at 4:58 AM on December 25, 2013

Somehow A Christmas Garland had previously escaped my attention; reading it now, the Henry James is just perfect: I LOL'd.

posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 12:25 PM on December 25, 2013

Most of them are quite good-natured, but the Kipling parody catches the sadistic streak in Kipling's personality. Beerbohm's drawings of Kipling (see here, with a good selection of others) also have a cruel edge to them.
posted by verstegan at 3:59 PM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

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