The Impossible Life of Mary Benson; The Extraordinary Story of a Victorian Wife

by Unknown
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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 4/1/2013
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
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The remarkable true story of the life of Mary Benson: wife of an archbishop, friend of Queen Victoria, mother of three "unpermissably gifted" childrenincluding E. F. Benson, and in love with dozens of women Sometimes touching and sometimes hilarious, this is the story of one lovable, brilliant woman and her trajectory through the often surprising opportunities and the remarkable limitations of a Victorian woman's life. Young Minnie Sidgwick was just 12 years old when her cousin, 12-year-old Edward Benson, proposed to her in 1853. Edward went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury and little Minnieas Mary Bensonto preside a social world that ranged from Tennyson, Henry James, and Oscar Wilde to foreign royalty and Queen Victoria herself. Yet Mrs. Benson's most intense relationships were not with her husband and his associates, but with other women. When the Archbishop died, Mary, or "Ben" to her intimates, turned down an offer from the Queen to live at Windsor, and set up home in a Jacobean manor house with her friend Lucy Tait. Drawing on the diaries and novels of the Bensons themselves, including E. F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels, as well as the writing of contemporary writers and poets, this book creates a very rich portrait of Mary Benson, her family, her close female friends, and their world.

Author Biography

Rodney Bolt is the author of History Play and The Librettist of Venice, which was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
The Benson Linep. xiv
A Word on the Bookp. xvii
Prologuep. xxi
Minniep. 1
Mrs Bensonp. 49
Benp. 223
Acknowledgementsp. 316
Notesp. 317
Select Bibliographyp. 351
Indexp. 355
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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