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Cover of the first edition of Seven Men (1919)
Seven Men is a collection of short stories written by Englishmarker caricaturist, essayist and parodist Max Beerbohm. It was published in Britainmarker in 1919 by Heinemann and in the United Statesmarker in 1920 by Alfred A. Knopf, and has been described as a "masterpiece.""Sir Max Beerbohm." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 Oct. 2009 /www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/58424/Sir-Max-Beerbohm>

Background

Seven Men contains Beerbohm's biographies of six fictional characters. Beerbohm himself is the seventh man with whom the others interact. One of the most popular stories in the collection is Enoch Soames, the tale of a poet who makes a deal with the devil to find out how posterity will remember him. Seven Men includes two supernatural comedies, "Hilary Maltby and Stephen Braxton", a tale of invisibility, and "A. V. Laider", a tale of prevision.

A review of Seven Men said:

"In Seven Men the brilliant English caricaturist and critic Max Beerbohm turns his comic searchlight upon the fantastic fin-de-siècle world of the 1890s — the age of Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, and the young Yeats, as well of Beerbohm's own first success. In a series of luminous sketches, Beerbohm captures the likes of Enoch Soames, only begetter of the neglected poetic masterwork Fungoids; Maltby and Braxton, two fashionable novelists caught in a bitter rivalry; and "Savonarola" Brown, author of a truly incredible tragedy encompassing the entire Italian Renaissance. One of the masterpieces of modern humorous writing, Seven Men is also a shrewdly perceptive, heartfelt homage to the wonderfully eccentric character of a bygone age."


Martin Maner wrote of Seven Men that in it Beerbohm "anticipated postmodernism" in his insights into the problems of twentieth-century mass culture and that Seven Men is "an anomaly, a postmodernist fiction written before its time."

An enlarged edition, Seven Men, and Two Others, with a new story and two new characters, Felix Argallo and Walter Ledgett, was published by Heinemann in 1950.

Contents of Seven Men (1919)

  • Enoch Soames
  • Hilary Maltby and Stephen Braxton
  • James Pethel
  • A. V. Laider
  • 'Savonarola' Brown


Contents of Seven Men and Two Others (1950)

  • Enoch Soames
  • Hilary Maltby and Stephen Braxton
  • James Pethel
  • A. V. Laider
  • Felix Argallo and Walter Ledgett
  • 'Savonarola' Brown


References

  1. Beerbohm, Max 'Seven Men' Heinemann, London (1919)
  2. [1] Seven Men reviewed in Good Reads
  3. Maner, Martin 'Beerbohm's Seven Men and the Power of the Press,' English Literature in Transition, 34, 2 (1991) pgs 133-151


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