By Simon Goldhill
So starts off A Very Queer relations Indeed, which introduces us to the extreme Benson kin. Edward White Benson turned Archbishop of Canterbury on the peak of Queen Victoria’s reign, whereas his spouse, Mary, used to be popular for her wit and charm—the major minister as soon as puzzled no matter if she was once “the cleverest lady in England or in Europe.” The couple’s six precocious childrens integrated E. F. Benson, celebrated writer of the Mapp and Lucia novels, and Margaret Benson, the 1st released girl Egyptologist.
What pursuits Simon Goldhill such a lot, despite the fact that, is what went on backstage, which used to be much more strange than someone may possibly think. Inveterate writers, the Benson kin spun out novels, essays, and hundreds of thousands of letters that open beautiful new perspectives—including what it could actually suggest for an grownup to kiss and suggest marriage to a twelve-year-old lady, how faith in a kinfolk might aid or break relationships, or how the demise of a kid can be celebrated. No different family members has left such specific documents approximately their so much intimate moments, and in those extraordinary bills, we see how kinfolk existence and a family’s knowing of itself took form in the course of a time whilst psychoanalysis, clinical and old demanding situations to faith, and new methods of brooding about society have been constructing. this can be the tale of the Bensons, however it is usually greater than that—it is the tale of ways society transitioned from the excessive Victorian interval into modernity.
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Extra 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