London: Hutchinson & Co., 1915. Original navy cloth (7 7/8 inches tall), gilt decorated spine and front board, top edge gilt. A nearly-fine copy. Item #1439
"ROBERT HUGH BENSON HAS BEEN APTLY COMPARED TO A METEOR WHICH FLASHES ATHWART THE SKY, CONSUMING ITSELF BY ITS OWN PACE"
First edition of Olive Katharine Parr's "little tribute" to Robert Hugh Benson—published shortly after his death and illustrated with a photo-engraved frontispiece portrait. A beautiful copy in bright gilt boards..
As an Anglican priest—and the youngest son of Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury—R.H. Benson's stunning conversion to Catholicism in 1903 attracted great controversy. Published in the same year as the Memorials of Robert Hugh Benson (Shane Leslie and Blanche Warre Cornish), this biography was one of a spate of testaments which appeared in the months after the Monsignor's death in October 1914. Composed of a brief Foreword (Venton House, Feast of the Epiphany, 1915) and 11 chapters, the text is prefaced with a poem by John Oxenham (aka William Arthur Dunkerley). Parr considers Benson's literary achievements (with evaluations of The Light Invisible and Richard Raynal) and mentions a conversation in which she "upbraided Robert Hugh Benson for the flinty-heartedness of some of his women characters." But Parr places a greater emphasis on Benson's ordination in 1904: "His life as a priest numbered ten years—the decade of a spiritual rosary whose every bead was a pearl of great price." A brief note on Parr by Father C.C. Martindale, S.J., the English Jesuit and Benson's biographer, appears on the verso of the half-title.