By Simon Goldhill
So starts A Very Queer kinfolk Indeed, which introduces us to the extreme Benson relations. Edward White Benson grew to become Archbishop of Canterbury on the top of Queen Victoria’s reign, whereas his spouse, Mary, used to be popular for her wit and charm—the leading minister as soon as puzzled even if she used to be “the cleverest girl in England or in Europe.” The couple’s six precocious youngsters incorporated E. F. Benson, celebrated writer of the Mapp and Lucia novels, and Margaret Benson, the 1st released girl Egyptologist.
What pursuits Simon Goldhill so much, notwithstanding, is what went on backstage, which used to be much more strange than somebody might think. Inveterate writers, the Benson kinfolk spun out novels, essays, and millions of letters that open lovely new perspectives—including what it may well suggest for an grownup to kiss and suggest marriage to a twelve-year-old lady, how faith in a relatives may help or wreck relationships, or how the dying of a kid will be celebrated. No different relations has left such distinct documents approximately their such a lot intimate moments, and in those extraordinary money owed, we see how kin existence and a family’s realizing of itself took form in the course of a time whilst psychoanalysis, clinical and historic demanding situations to faith, and new methods of puzzling over society have been constructing. this can be the tale of the Bensons, however it can also be greater than that—it is the tale of the way society transitioned from the excessive Victorian interval into modernity.
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