Beerbohm, Max (1872-1956) by Scholes, Robert

Max Beerbohm (1872 – 1956)

Max Beerbohm was educated at Charterhouse and Merton College, Oxford. He contributed to the famous Yellow Book while still an undergraduate at Oxford. In 1898 he succeeded G. B. Shaw as drama critic for the Saturday Review. A charming, witty, and elegant man, Beerbohm was a brilliant parodist and the master of a polished prose style. His works include A Christmas Garland (1912), a collection of parodies on such authors as Joseph Conrad and Thomas Hardy; Zuleika Dobson (1911), a fantasy about a femme fatalle who causes the entire student body of Oxford to commit suicide; Seven Men (1919), fiction in the form of essays;  And Even Now (1920), essays; and Mainly on the Air (1947), radio talks. Beerbohm was accomplished at drawing, and he published several volumes of excellent caricatures, including The Poet’s Corner (1904) and Rossetti and His Circle (1922). He was knighted in 1939 on his return from Italy, where he had lived from 1910 (except for the duration of the two World Wars), after marrying an American actress, Florence Kahn . His knighthood was slow in coming, probably because of his merciless caricatures of the royal family. A month before his death he married the woman who had looked after him for many years after his first wife’s death, Elizabeth Jungmann.

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