By Rodney Bolt
Younger Minnie Sidgwick was once simply twelve years outdated whilst her cousin, twenty-three-year outdated Edward Benson, proposed to her in 1853. Edward went directly to turn into Archbishop of Canterbury and little Minnie - as Mary Benson - to preside over Lambeth Palace, and a social global that ranged from Tennyson and Browning to international royalty and Queen Victoria herself. best Minister William Gladstone referred to as her 'the cleverest girl in Europe'. but Mrs Benson's such a lot extreme relationships weren't along with her husband and his affiliates, yet with different girls. while the Archbishop died, Mary - 'Ben' to her intimates - became down a proposal from the Queen to reside at Windsor, and arrange domestic in a Jacobean manor condominium together with her pal Lucy Tait.
She remained on the middle of her relatives of fiercely eccentric and 'unpermissably gifted' kids, every one as person as herself. They knew Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Bell. Arthur wrote the phrases for 'Land of wish and Glory'; Fred turned a highly profitable writer (his Mapp and Lucia novels nonetheless have a cult following); and Maggie a well known Egyptologist. yet none of them was once 'the marrying sort' and one of these rackety relatives appeared destined for disruption: Maggie attempted to kill her mom and used to be institutionalized, Arthur suffered a variety of breakdowns and younger Hugh grew to become a Catholic priest, embroiled in scandal.
Drawing at the diaries and novels of the Bensons themselves, in addition to writings of contemporaries starting from George Eliot to Charles Dickens, Rodney Bolt creates a wealthy and intimate relatives historical past of Victorian and Edwardian England. yet, so much of all, he tells the occasionally touching, occasionally hilarious, tale of 1 lovely, magnificent girl and her trajectory during the usually dazzling possibilities and the impressive barriers of a Victorian woman's existence.
Previously released less than the identify pretty much as good As God, As shrewdpermanent because the satan.
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Additional resources for As Good as God, as Clever as The Devil: The Impossible Life of Mary Benson
He asked. I nodded. ” I shook my head. I’m not much of an upchucker. I can and have eaten pizza on heroin. ” I nodded. ” “Something else,” I squeaked guiltily. ” By the time we had this conversation we were almost halfway home. Out of the city center and crossing the green fields and country roads back to Cumbernauld. ” he inquired tentatively I shook my head. I couldn’t speak now. All my concentration was on clenching. He sprang to action: reeling up the center aisle of the bus like a sailor in high seas as it careered around the winding roads, he made his way down to the front and talked to the driver.
Giants and fairies was how he described classical music. He could just as well have been talking about show business. Gunka said he’d buy me one of the big waxy discs for a present, yet as much as I had enjoyed the Norwegian composer’s opus, I wanted a pop music album instead. Gunka agreed that that might be a good place to start, and we whittled the options down to two: the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper or a Monkees album called Headquarters. To my eternal shame, I chose the Monkees. This was because I was only eight and the Monkees looked cheerful and friendly on their album cover, whereas the Beatles had beards and my father had told me that you couldn’t trust a man with a beard because you didn’t know what he was hiding.
I nodded. ” “Something else,” I squeaked guiltily. ” By the time we had this conversation we were almost halfway home. Out of the city center and crossing the green fields and country roads back to Cumbernauld. ” he inquired tentatively I shook my head. I couldn’t speak now. All my concentration was on clenching. He sprang to action: reeling up the center aisle of the bus like a sailor in high seas as it careered around the winding roads, he made his way down to the front and talked to the driver.