The Coxcomb Series, Vol. 1
In advance of and as a first companion to The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
, which will go online on Sunday, here come the collected writings of Max Beerbohm (wikipedia
), comprising all of his books with stories and essays published between 1896 and 1921, framed by two very rare essays on Oscar, which are not available digitally anywhere else.
Being a contemporary of Wilde’s, they constantly commented and bickered on each other’s works and words, and on art, literature, and the right dress shoes matching their buttonholes in general, leading to a dialogue (or trialogue, if you also count James Abbott McNeill Whistler, whose book I will also put online later today) that can be followed in these writings.
‘The incomparable Max
’, as he was first called by George Bernard Shaw and which became a lasting epithet, is a witty, elegant, and ironic writer, and, though not being in the same league as Oscar, makes for a most delightful read.
So, the books—comprising 103 stories, essays, and novels—contained herein are:
THE HAPPY HYPOCRITE (1897)
YET AGAIN (1909)
ZULEIKA DOBSON (1911)
A CHRISTMAS GARLAND (1912)
SEVEN MEN (1919)
AND EVEN NOW (1921)
This epub is mostly based on the Gutenberg books, but, as they kind of ruined the formatting [Can anybody explain to me the allure
of ‘plain ascii texts with upper case letters instead of italics, and the diacritics removed’, please?], I have thoroughly checked the texts against their original print editions, put the italics back in, assigned the proper classes to poems, quotes, subtitles, etc., corrected the section breaks, made active footnotes, re-entered all the Greek words, and hope to have found all the missing French diacritics. For small caps and for beauty, I have embedded fonts in the epub. And, if I may say so, I’m proud to have finally figured out how to format initials in html.
For easier navigation, there are a main table of contents and one for each contained book. Also, there are links at the end of each text bringing you back to the respective contents tables. And finally, I have included an alphabetical index of all the stories and essays.
As a bonus, there are two of Max’s essays on Oscar: OSCAR WILDE, BY AN AMERICAN
and A PEEP INTO THE PAST
. The first was Beerbohm’s first published text from a newspaper in 1893, the second was written in 1894 but couldn’t be published when the Wilde scandal broke and was then only released in an unauthorised book in 1923. It is important to note that it was not revised for the ’23 publication, a remark you will understand when you read the text!
I have transcribed the early text from the original newspaper (It is amaah-zing what you can find online) and scanned the latter from a book because it isn’t available online. I’ve proofread them as I did ‘MORE’, which wasn’t on Gutenberg, and am also almost through with ‘SEVEN MEN’, so these should be ok. For the other books I rely on the kindness and thoroughness of strangers, at the moment.
I don't intend to add any more books to this collection, but, as missing diacritics must not be tolerated, expect to find an update here with some of the accents
restored sometime in the future.
And, once more, Oscar on Max, in a letter to the ‘Sphinx’, Ada Leverson: “Tell me, when you are alone with him, does he take off his face and reveal his mask?