New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1914. 12 mo. (7 inches tall), original gilt purple cloth, top edge gilt, uncut. Gilt boards bright, early owner signature, slight browning to text, tanning to early and later leaves, crack to inner gutter but text and binding holding. Very good indeed. Item #875
"THE SPUR OF THE INVISIBLE WAS UPON HIM IN HIS DEATH AND IN HIS LIFE" First edition—American issue—of these panegyrics to Robert Hugh Benson, published shortly after his death (at age 42) in October 1914. This tribute consists of two essays, "Robert Hugh Benson" (by Blanche Warre Cornish) and "The Cambridge Apostolate" (by Shane Leslie), along with "Anecdotes of Hugh Benson" (numbered I-III by Richard Howden). Illustrated with ten photographs—including a color frontispiece portrait of Benson (with original tissue-guard)—all printed separately and then tipped-on to captioned leaves for insertion in the text. Two of the larger photographs—including "The Funeral, October 23, 1914"—are folded between two pages. Blanche Warre Cornish mentions the upcoming "biography and letters" by C.C. Martindale, S.J. (subsequently published in two volumes in 1916) and expands beyond Benson's great success as a preacher and author to describe him as "a mystic, an Englishman who will take his place amongst the true mystics of the Church." Born John Randolph Leslie in Ireland, "Shane Leslie became a convert himself in 1908, one of those undergraduates who were thrilled and mystified into the Roman fold by Benson" (Joseph Pearce). For Leslie, the admirers "whom he first met as undergraduates, he remains always the symbol of their spiritual youth and his." Printed in England for distribution in the United States (by P.J. Kenedy & Sons), likely bearing a replacement ("cancel") title page. No limitation to the overall edition is stated but—given the time and expense required to mount the individual photographs—the number of copies was likely quite limited. With a section of Notes (numbered I-V) appended at the rear. Joseph Pearce. Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Disbelief.