A Very Queer Family Indeed: Sex, Religion, and the Bensons in Victorian Britain
The February free e-book from the University of Chicago Press.
The Victorians: conventional, patriarchal, family-focused, and strait-laced? Then there were the Bensons: Edward White Benson, archbishop of Canterbury; his wife, the lesbian writer Mary Sidgwick Benson, to whom he proposed marriage when she was only twelve; and their children, all of whom became prominent writers and none of whom married, including Fred Benson, gay and a competitive figure skater, who authored the Mapp and Lucia series of comic novels.
Drawing on the voluminous writings of the Bensons—collectively they wrote tens of thousands of letters and hundreds of books—Simon Goldhill created the compulsively readable A Very Queer Family Indeed: Sex, Religion, and the Bensons in Victorian Britain, our free e-book for February. Via the Benson family, Goldhill shows us a world transitioning to modernity.
“Goldhill is … especially good on the linguistic side of the story. Until the invention of psychiatry and sexology, there simply was not a language to discuss this sort of thing.… This book makes you realize how much has changed.”—Times Literary Supplement