EF Benson

Edward Frederic Benson was born on 24th July 1867 and died on 29th February 1940. He was an English novelist, biographer, writer of memoirs and short story writer. He wrote professionally as EF Benson but his friends called him Fred.

E.F. Benson was born at Wellington College in Berkshire, the fifth child of the headmaster, Edward White Benson (who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury), and Mary Sidgwick Benson.

Benson was the younger brother of Arthur Christopher Benson, who wrote the words to Land of Hope and Glory, Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, author of several novels and Roman Catholic apologetic works, and Margaret Benson an amateur Egyptologist. E. F. Benson never married but there is no evidence that he was homosexual, though thought so by many people.

E. F. Benson was an excellent athlete, and represented England at figure skating. He was a precocious and prolific writer, publishing his first book while still a student. The Mapp and Lucia novels form only a small part of his total output.

The principal setting of four of the Mapp and Lucia books is a town called Tilling, which is recognizably based on Rye, East Sussex, where Benson lived for many years and served as mayor from 1934 (he moved there in 1918). Benson's home, Lamb House, served as the model for Mallards, home to both Mapp and Lucia at various points.

In London, Benson also lived at 395 Oxford Street, W1, 102 Oakley Street, SW3, and 25 Brompton Square, SW3, where much of the action of Lucia in London takes place and where English Heritage placed a Blue Plaque in 1994.

Benson died in 1940 of throat cancer in University College Hospital, London.

ef_benson.txt · Last modified: 2012-09-13 22:24 by pkoldham
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