Edinburgh: The Tragara Press, 1979. Limited edition. Octavo, original magenta paper wrappers. An about-fine copy. Item #302
Limited edition arranging the notes and fragments compiled by R. H. Benson and F. W. Rolfe for their planned collaboration on a life of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, one of only 25 copies printed for the use of the editor. Robert Hugh Benson was the son of Edward White Benson, the Archbishop of Canterbury (1883 to 1896) so it was natural that he'd have an interest in the dramatic confrontation between King Henry II and St. Thomas à Becket. Frederick William Rolfe was a notorious eccentric who would eventually become immortalized as the infamous "Baron Corvo" in A. J. A Symons's classic biography The Quest for Corvo (1934). Both men were Catholic converts with ambitions for the priesthood but Rolfe was never ordained. Eventually the partnership collapsed in a feud, never to be revived, before Rolfe died in 1913 at age 53 and Benson followed a year later at age 42. Edited and with an Introduction by Donald Weeks tracing the rise and fall of the project (and the friendship) between Benson and Rolfe. Following the break with Rolfe, Benson would re-work the material for a straight-forward biography, The Holy Blissful Martyr Saint Thomas of Canterbury, published 1908. This copy from an overall edition limited to only 120 copies printed on Amalfi paper. An interesting literary curiosity for a Robert Hugh Benson collection.