From the blurb
"Max Beerbolm would have found the notion of a centenary year highly comic, but one hundred years after his birth he is coming back strongly into fashion. The continuing demand for his books, the soaring saleroom prices for his drawings, the splendid biography by David Cecil and S. N. Behrman`s engaging Portrait of Max, the recently issued collections of his theatre criticism, and the publication of further books during 1972, his actual centenary year- all this is evidence of mounting interest. But amongst these books there has been no substantial critical assessment of Beerbohm. Here is a perceptive study of his writings and drawings in just this field.
Mr Felstiner covers Max Beerbohm`s career in roughly chronological form, but for detailed study he separates the writings from the drawings. He begins with the early contributions to The Yellow Book and the first slim volumes. His central chapters are mainly on drawings. And finally we come to the literary masterpieces, A Christmas Garland, Zuleieka Dobson, Seven Men. Not a large total output, but immortality has been achieved with less.
"Make yourself a work of art," Pater and Wilde had been saying. Max followed them, at the same time developing Yeats` principal of the mask. He was too independent, even then, to accept whole-heartedly the pretensions of Wilde`s followers, or on the other hand to take an ethical position against them. His mask projected the roles of aesthete and counter-aesthete at once - and to call him poseur was, like hissing the villain in a melodrama, a form of compliment. And, as Mr Felstiner reveals, a serious critical impulse ran through even the early writings, the impulse to question artistic means and ends.
His concern was with the interpenetration of art and experience - the specific difference created by caricature and parody. For life imitates art. He aimed at significant distortion, and to achieve this he frequently concentrated on a single figure. Mr Felstiner discusses the whole range of Beerhohm`s caricature, his technique, his favourite subjects, his use of visual metaphor, his personal vision, his view of society, his limitations, his lasting relevance. Finally we come to the last, great books, and to literary parody as a creative and a critical act. Beerbohm`s parodies "define a literary motive that is tantamount to philosophical principal". Mr Felstiner is not afraid to make bold comparisons. His judgement is balanced, and his criticism is as relevant to today as it sympathetic to Beerbohm`s own world. A worthy tribute indeed to the art of the Incomparable Max."
Excellent pages with slight edge-wear. Includes a dust-jacket in very good condition. Does have two library stamp on the front flyleaf