By Simon Goldhill
So starts off A Very Queer family members Indeed, which introduces us to the extreme Benson kin. Edward White Benson turned Archbishop of Canterbury on the top of Queen Victoria’s reign, whereas his spouse, Mary, was once well known for her wit and charm—the leading minister as soon as questioned no matter if she was once “the cleverest girl in England or in Europe.” The couple’s six precocious little ones incorporated E. F. Benson, celebrated author of the Mapp and Lucia novels, and Margaret Benson, the 1st released girl Egyptologist.
What pursuits Simon Goldhill so much, although, is what went on behind the curtain, which was once much more strange than somebody might think. Inveterate writers, the Benson family members spun out novels, essays, and millions of letters that open wonderful 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 relatives may perhaps aid or spoil relationships, or how the dying of a kid will be celebrated. No different kinfolk has left such particular documents approximately their so much intimate moments, and in those impressive money owed, we see how relations lifestyles and a family’s figuring out of itself took form in the course of a time while psychoanalysis, medical and ancient demanding situations to faith, and new methods of pondering society have been constructing. this is often the tale of the Bensons, however it can be greater than that—it is the tale of the way society transitioned from the excessive Victorian interval into modernity.
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