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Seven Men

Sir Max Beerbohm

Book Overview: 

In order to liven up the literary history of Great Britain in the 1890s (as if Oscar Wilde, Stevenson, Kipling, Hardy, etc., were not lively enough) Max Beerbohm wrote short biographies of six imaginary writers. Though their works of course no longer exist, he leaves the impression that the literary world is really none the poorer. It is, of course, the six men themselves (Beerbohm himself is the seventh man of the title) who are worth our attention.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I rocked to and fro, I lay back aching. I behaved deplorably.

'I am a gentleman, and,' he said with intense emphasis, 'I thought I was in the company of GENTLEMEN.'

'Don't!' I gasped faintly. 'Oh, don't!'

'Curious, nicht wahr?' I heard him say to Soames. 'There is a type of person to whom the very mention of my name is—oh-so-awfully-funny! In your theatres the dullest comedian needs only to say "The Devil!" and right away they give him "the loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind." Is it not so?'

I had now just breath enough to offer my apologies. He accepted them, but coldly, and re-addressed himself to Soames.

'I am a man of business,' he said, 'and always I would put things through "right now," as they say in the States. You are a poet. Les affaires—you detest them. So be it. But with me you will deal, eh? What you have said just now gives me furiously to hope.'

Soames had not moved, except . . . Read More

Community Reviews

[Original review]

A couple of days ago, I reviewed Arthur M. Steven's
The Blue Book of Charts to Winning Chess
, one of the most dismally misguided chess books ever written. Unfortunately, the author had spent most of his life writing it. I'd only borrowed him as a hook on which to hang a Twilight

This is a funny little book. These are essentially short stories, although they're written as if they were autobiographical essays. A nice little gimmick.

The best of them is "Enoch Soames," the first one. This concerns a poet Beerbohm supposedly knew in the 1890's, a Catholic Diabolist who spends a

Love these stories! I first read them long ago in my early 20s, on the advice of my then-advisor Dorothy Parker, via her Constant Reader columns.

Fantastic short story writing! Max Beerbohm brings characters, settings, and events to life with masterful language. Each story really captures the essence of the six different men directly portrayed; the seventh man is Beerbohm himself, the narrator and participant in each of the stories, who is su

"Enoch Soames" makes the book worth owning. Beerbohm is a careful stylist and wickedly funny.

Seven Men holds five stories, each about a different character and one story about two. That makes six; the seventh man is Max himself, writing each story as if it’s an essay on someone he knows. In some cases he’s an active part of the story, in others he’s more of an observer, but this gives us ou

An interesting twist.

A mixed baggage. I would have given 3 and a half if I had the option. The best of all was the first story "Enoch Soames". We have our narrator(Beerbohm himself) being a friend to a writer called Enoch Soames, who for all reasons unknown and best, neglected by all. He is introduced as a measured, res

He had me at "Fungoids."

More fun with Uncle Max, this time in the form of brief fictional biographies. The best piece is the first one, on Enoch Soames who had everything necessary to be a big literary hit in the 1890s, except talent. He makes an ill-considered bargain with the devil and pays the price.

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