Sunday, October 19, 2014

R H BENSON (1871-1914)

Today marks the occasion of the centenary of the death of Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson (18 November 1871 – 19 October 1914), the author of several volumes of fantasies and ghost stories, notable for their perfervid vigour and swashbuckling invention. For a while a friend of Baron Corvo, his writing has some of the Corvine style and personal ardour, while for wild imagination and world-shattering vision, he is in the same range as M.P. Shiel.

An excellent tribute from earlier in the year, The Father of Dystopia: R H Benson and The Lord of the World, by Alfred Searls may be found at Northern Soul.

A taste of his piquant personality may be seen in his characteristic preamble to his most remarkable novel:


I am perfectly aware that this is a terribly sensational book, and open to innumerable criticisms on that account, as well as on many others. But I did not know how else to express the principles I desired (and which I passionately believe to be true) except by producing their lines to a sensational point. I have tried, however, not to scream unduly loud, and to retain, so far as possible, reverence and consideration for the opinions of other people. Whether I have succeeded in that attempt is quite another matter.

Robert Hugh Benson


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