London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1915. First edition. 12 mo. (7 5/8 inches tall), original [sage charcoal] cloth gilt. Mild tanning to blank flyleaves. A near-fine copy. Item #998
"NOTHING ETERNAL CAN POSSIBLY DEPEND ON AN ACCIDENT; AND NOTHING EXCEPT THE ETERNAL MATTERS"
First edition collecting the spiritual letters of Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson—illustrated with a tissue-guarded frontispiece portrait. Benson is said to have given his blessing to this posthumous edition, one of several tributes to "the unsung genius of the Catholic Literary Revival" (Joseph Pearce) which appeared after his death in October 1914. These letters of counsel feature a brief Preface by the author's brother, Arthur C. Benson (dated, "Magdalene College Cambridge / February 11, 1915") and an Editor's Introduction (dated, "London, January 14, 1915."). The unnamed editor (evidently a member of the Dominican Order) portrays "Monsignor Benson as a Letter Writer" with correspondence as an essential part of his literary arsenal. A portrait emerges of Benson nurturing the faith in a growing brood of "spiritual children" with a "deep and dry spirituality...which offers a tantalizing insight into a profound intellect" (Pearce). The letters are divided into six sections, each containing a brief introductory note, covering Benson's short but brilliant life as a correspondent: I. Anglican Letters, II. Early Catholic Letters, III. Letters from Rome, IV. Letters of Spiritual Direction, V. To One Beginning a Literary Career, VI. To One Entering Religion. "Some of these exquisite pen-pictures—such as that of the Holy Father's Mass—are tiny miniatures, perfectly finished with his own consummate and distinctive art." Pearce. R.H. Benson: Unsung Genius. Lay Witness (January/February 2001).