Enoch Soames is—you know it’s coming—the best science fiction story result: “ Enoch Soames, a character from a Max Beerbohm story. Enoch Soames is a brief novella, written in the first person. It’s a fictional reminiscence narrated by Max Beerbohm. He begins by describing his colorful friend. Enoch Soames: a memory of the eighteen-nineties – Kindle edition by Sir Max Beerbohm. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or.
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Holbrook Jackson to the world, I looked eagerly in the index for Soames, Enoch. It was as I feared: But everybody else was. Many writers whom I had quite forgotten, or remembered but faintly, lived again for me, they and their work, in Mr. The book was as thorough as it was brilliantly written. And thus the omission found by me was an all the deadlier record of poor Soames’s failure to impress himself on his decade.
I dare say I am the only person who noticed the omission. Soames had failed so piteously as all that! Nor is there a counterpoise in the thought that if he had had some measure of success he might have passed, like those others, out of my mind, to return only at the historian’s beck. It is true that had his gifts, such as they were, been acknowledged in his lifetime, he would never have made the bargain I saw him make–that strange bargain whose results have kept him always in the foreground of my memory.
But it is from those very results that the full piteousness of him glares out. Not my compassion, however, impels me to write of him. For his sake, poor fellow, I should be inclined to keep my pen out of the ink. It is ill to deride the dead. And how can I write about Enoch Soames without making him ridiculous? Or, rather, how am I to hush up the horrid fact that he WAS ridiculous? I shall not be able to do that.
Yet, sooner or later, write about him I must. You will see in due course that I have no option. And I may as well get the thing done now. IN the summer term of ’93 a bolt from the blue flashed down on Oxford. It drove deep; it hurtlingly embedded itself in the soil. Dons and undergraduates stood around, rather pale, discussing nothing but it.
Whence came it, jax meteorite? To do a series of twenty-four portraits in lithograph. These were to be published from the Bodley Head, London.
The matter was urgent. He did not sue; he invited: He was twenty-one years old.
Enoch Soames – Wikipedia
He wore spectacles that flashed more than any other pair ever seen. Beerbohk was a wit. He was brimful of ideas.
He knew Daudet and the Goncourts. He knew every one in Paris. He knew them all by heart. He was Paris in Oxford. It was whispered that, so soon as he had polished off his selection of dons, he was going to include a few undergraduates. It was a proud day for me when I–I was included. I liked Rothenstein not less than I feared him; and there arose between us a friendship that has grown ever warmer, and been more and more valued by me, with every passing year. At the end of term he settled in, or, rather, neoch into, London.
It was to him I owed my first knowledge of that forever-enchanting little world-in-itself, Chelsea, and my first acquaintance with Walter Sickert and other August elders who dwelt there. It was Rothenstein that took me to see, in Cambridge Street, Pimlico, a young man whose drawings were already famous among the few–Aubrey Beardsley by name.
With Rothenstein I paid my first visit to the Bodley Head. By him I was inducted into another haunt of intellect and daring, the domino-room of the Cafe Royal.
There, on that October evening–there, in that exuberant vista of gilding and crimson velvet set amidst beernohm those opposing mirrors and upholding caryatids, with fumes of tobacco ever rising to the painted and pagan ceiling, and with the hum of presumably cynical conversation broken into so sharply now and again by the clatter of dominoes shuffled on marble tables, I drew a deep breath and, “This indeed,” said I to myself, “is life!
Remember the waging of even the South African War was not yet. It was the hour before dinner. Those who knew Rothenstein were pointing him out to those who knew him only by name.
Men were constantly coming in through the swing-doors and wandering slowly up and down in search of vacant tables or of tables occupied by friends. One of these rovers interested me because I was sure he wanted to catch Rothenstein’s eye. He had twice passed our table, with a hesitating look; but Rothenstein, in the thick of a disquisition on Puvis de Chavannes, had not seen him.
He was a stooping, shambling person, rather tall, very pale, with longish and brownish hair. He had a thin, vague beetbohm, or, rather, he had a chin on which a large number of hairs weakly curled and clustered to cover its retreat. He msx an odd-looking person; but in the nineties odd apparitions were more frequent, I think, than they are now.
The young writers of that era–and I was sure this man was a writer–strove earnestly beernohm be distinct in aspect. This man had striven unsuccessfully. He wore a soft black hat of clerical kind, but of Bohemian intention, and a gray waterproof cape which, perhaps because it was waterproof, failed to be romantic.
I decided that “dim” was the mot juste for him. I had already essayed to write, and was immensely keen on the mot justethat Holy Grail of the period. The dim man was now again approaching our table, and this time he made up his mind to pause in front of it.
Rothenstein brightly focused him. We met at the Cafe Groche. You showed me some of your paintings, you know.