Charming Autograph Letter Signed to British Editor, Translator and Journalist, Frederic Whyte

Signed by Max Beerbohm

$450
Item: 19427
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BEERBOHM, MAX. (1872-1956). English essayist and caricaturist. ALS. (“Max Beerbohm”). 2½pp. 12mo. London, N.d. (“Saturday”). On Upper Berkeley Street stationery. To British editor, translator and journalist FREDERIC WHYTE (1867-1941).

I am much flattered – a fly in amber – What day would suit you? Tuesday? Wednesday? Any day but Thursday you might send me a line. It will be a great pleasure to see you again. I send this to the N.L.C., as you date your letter from there; but I wonder that a graceful literary person like yourself dares pass that threshold in a time of great political upheaval…”

Born in London, Beerbohm attended Oxford where he became known as a dandy and at the time made the acquaintance of Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, the latter publishing Beerbohm’s essay A Defence of Cosmetics in The Yellow Book in 1894, a piece which made Beerbohm’s reputation. Two years later he published his collected essays for The Yellow Book in The Works of Max Beerbohm. It was followed by his short story “The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairy Tale for Tired Men” and, in 1898, Beerbohm succeeded G.B. Shaw as drama critic for The Saturday Review. In handing over the reins, Shaw wrote: “The younger generation is knocking at the door; and as I open it there steps spritely in the incomparable Max,” bestowing on him his lifelong nickname. His only novel, set at Oxford, was Zuleika Dobson, or, an Oxford love story, published in 1911.

Max Beerbohm by Max Beerbohm

 

 

Beerbohm was also a popular caricaturist whose drawings first appeared in 1892 in The Strand Magazine, which published his humorous drawing of “Club Types.” In 1913, The Times called him “the greatest of English comic artists.” His caricatures were published in such volumes as Caricatures of Twenty-five Gentlemen (1896), The Poets’ Corner (1904), Fifty Caricatures (1913), and Rossetti and His Circle (1922).

Whyte was author of Actors of the Century: a Play-Lover’s Gleanings From Theatrical Annals, A Wayfarer in Sweden, A Bachelor’s London: Memories of the Day Before Yesterday 1889-1914, and The Life of W.T. Stead, a biography of the pioneering investigative journalist whose exposé of child prostitution in London inspired George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Our letter possibly refers to Whyte’s membership in the National Liberal Club, a private club in London. Beerbohm’s caricature of Whyte is published in A Catalogue of the Caricatures of Max Beerbohm by Rupert Hart-Davis (no. 1777). Like Beerbohm, Whyte was also an expatriate, spending his later years in Sweden. Folded and lightly foxed with some very light traces from prior mounting. In fine condition.


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