Fine Feathers and Other Stories

Overview


Jack Adrian's first collection of E.F. Benson stories, Desirable Residences, marked the return of what Kirkus Reviews hailed as "the acid-tongued author of the peerless Lucia novels." After slipping into obscurity upon his death in 1940, Benson has undergone a tremendous revival, thanks to the work of Adrian and popular television adaptations of his Mapp and Lucia stories. Now comes a second collection of Benson's delightful short stories, some of which are newly discovered, ...
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New York 1994 Hardcover First edition/first printing New in new jacket ISBN: 0192123254. [4to] xviii.302p. biblio. New in dj protected against wear and tear in Brodart Archival ... Mylar. Read more Show Less

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Overview


Jack Adrian's first collection of E.F. Benson stories, Desirable Residences, marked the return of what Kirkus Reviews hailed as "the acid-tongued author of the peerless Lucia novels." After slipping into obscurity upon his death in 1940, Benson has undergone a tremendous revival, thanks to the work of Adrian and popular television adaptations of his Mapp and Lucia stories. Now comes a second collection of Benson's delightful short stories, some of which are newly discovered, and most of which have never been published in book form.
Fine Feathers captures the full expanse of Benson's long career, with stories ranging from 1894 to 1931. Here we find all of Benson's remarkably satirical wit, expressed in a delightful variety of stories. There are frothy comedies, tales of the supernatural, and biting stories of calamitous social gaffes, devastated pretensions, and clever swindles. These rare stories capture his skillful characterizations as well: one sequence of tales feature Amy Bondham, a figure very close to the celebrated Lucia of his popular Mapp and Lucia novels. Another story features the final appearance of the heroine Dodo, the character who first made the author famous; the woman who supposedly provided the model for Dodo once described her as a society girl, "a pretentious donkey with the heart and brains of a linnet." In "Dodo and the Brick," she sees off a social climber in fine style, as does the redoubtable Miss Ames in the title story. The collection also includes a little-known story with the ever-popular Miss Mapp, entitled "The Male Impersonator," in which she suffers a devastating retribution. And one of the stranger tales stars Benson himself, in "Atmospherics," as the author undergoes a mysterious and unsettling experience in his home town of Rye.
When Desirable Residences brought E.F. Benson back into the bookstore, Mapp and Lucia lovers were delighted at the chance to have their favorite author in hardcover. Now comes another outstanding anthology showing the master at his best--from society spoof to chilling supernatural tale.

Adrian's first collection of Benson's stories, Desirable Residences, marked the return of "the acid-tongued author of the peerless Lucia novels" ( Kirkus Reviews). This second collection of 31 stories, most of them published for the first time in book form, captures the full expanse of Benson's career, ranging from 1894 to 1931.

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Editorial Reviews

Mary Ellen Quinn
Lovers of Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels should enjoy this compilation of short stories, all published between 1894 and 1931 and collected here for the first time. They are divided into six groups. "The Further Diversions of Amy Bondham" comprises three episodes in Amy's amazing social career. "Crook Stories" includes a clever piece about archaeological chicanery. "Sardonic Stories," "Society Stories," and "Crank Stories" display Benson's gift for irony, and the three "Spook Stories" show a less well known talent for suspense. The most entertaining stories are those that show, in true Mapp and Lucia style, social climbers and snobs making their way through the thickets of the finest niceties, sometimes triumphing and sometimes falling, to the delight of their friends. One story, "The Male Impersonator," features Miss Mapp herself, making a terrible mistake about some newcomers to Tilling. Another story, "Dodo and the Brick," features Benson's earliest heroine, now about to celebrate her sixtieth birthday, maneuvering to save her son-in-law from the predations of a social lioness. The title story is a wonderful tale of a middle-aged couple who come into money, lease the finest house in the village, and find themselves bored and bewildered by the grandeur of their new style of life. Relics of a decidedly vanished age, Benson's delightful stories are escapism, pure and simple.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192123251
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/5/1994
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
E.F. Benson was an extremely prolific and popular novelist, whose works include Dodo and Queen Lucia, as well as various volumes of reminiscences.
About the Editor:
Jack Adrian is the author of several thrillers, and war and science fiction novels. He is an authority on twentieth-century popular and genre fiction and has compiled a number of anthologies and single-author collections, including a previous Benson anthology, Desirable Residences.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Further Diversions of Amy Bondham 1
The Lovers 3
'Complete Rest' 9
The Five Foolish Virgins 15
Crook Stories 23
My Friend the Murderer 25
Professor Burnaby's Discovery 39
Sardonic Stories 55
The Exposure of Pamela 57
Miss Maria's Romance 70
The Eavesdropper 81
James Sutherland, Ltd. 87
Bootles 102
Julian's Cottage 111
Society Stories 125
Fine Feathers 127
The Defeat of Lady Hartridge 137
The Jamboree 144
Complementary Souls 152
Dodo and the Brick 163
A Comedy of Styles 175
Noblesse Oblige 183
An Entire Mistake 188
Mr Carew's Game of Croquet 193
The Fall of Augusta 199
The Male Impersonator 204
Crank Stories 219
M.O.M. 221
The Adventure of Hegel Junior 230
The Simple Life 239
Mrs Andrews's Control 244
George's Secret 252
Buntingford Jugs 257
Spook Stories 269
By the Sluice 271
Atmospherics 282
Boxing Night 287
Sources 301
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