Monday, June 20, 2022

E. F. Benson and Rye

Some of my E. F. Benson collection (the nice hardcovers)

I happen to love (okay, almost to be point of obsession) the British Author E. F. Benson. His biographical details are relatively unimportant but very interesting. He was a very discrete homosexual and prolific writer. He published over 100 novels, biographies, histories and "ghost" stories.

His entire family were over achievers. His older brother wrote the words to "The Land Hope and Glory", a patriot English song that is very famous over there (think "America the Beautiful" by British). His younger brother was an author of novels and wrote many long form defenses of the Catholic Church (called "apologetic works") as well as being a vicar. His younger sister was a rather renowned Egyptologist. His father was the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Older, Younger, & E.F.

Benson Born in 1867 and most successful from about 1888 to 1925. He wrote witty society books (Dodo and the Map & Lucia series), biographies, short stories and "ghost stories" - minimally scary now and a bit humorous.

He lived in Rye (actually in the house where HenryJames lived before - a famous American born British writer (Portrait of a Lady, The Wings of a Dove, etc). In England, I panned a trip to Rye, which was quite out of the way (the benefits of the planner). Rye is the basis for the village of Tilling, in his fantastic series Mapp and Lucia. It is also where the British TV series filmed the show (two different version of multiple seasons). And, since this was my first introduction to Mr. Benson, I wanted to see the village. 

It was fun and we stayed there for a night. Sad aside, we were there Wednesday and Thursday, which happen to be the two days his home was closed. I didn't say a great planner.

Anyway, here are the pictures. Just as an aside, the Mermaid Hotel where we stayed was REBUILT in 1402. It replaced the old Mermaid Hotel with was kind of a pirate hangout. Oddly because of a silt river, the English Channel is now quite far from the village (like 2 miles).

The Mermaid Inn (where we stayed)

This old fort used to be on the seaside!

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