Caricatures of Twenty-five Gentlemen, 1896
The Works of Max Beerbohm, 1896
The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairy Tale for Tired Men, 1897
The Poet’s Corner, 1904 (caricatures)
A Book of Caricatures, 1907
Yet Again, 1909
Fifty Caricatures, 1913
And Even Now, 1920
A Survey, 1921 (caricatures)
Rossetti and His Circle, 1922 (caricatures)
Things New and Old, 1923 (caricatures)
Around Theatres, 1924
Observations, 1925 (caricatures)
A Variety of Things, 1928
Heroes and Heroines of Bitter Sweet, 1931 (caricatures)
Lytton Strachey, 1943
Mainly on the Air, 1946, 1957 (enlarged)
Selected Essays, 1958
More Theatres, 1898-1903, 1969
Last Theatres, 1904-1910, 1970
A Peep into the Past, and Other Pieces, 1972
Max and Will: Max Beerbohm and William Rothenstein, Their Friendship and Letters, 1893-1945, 1975
Letters of Max Beerbohm, 1892-1956, 1989
A Christmas Garland,Woven by Max Beerbohm, 1912, 1950 (enlarged)
Seven Men, 1919, 1950 (enlarged as Seven Men and Two Others)
Zuleika Dobson: Or, An Oxford Love Story, 1911
The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairy Tale for a Tired Man, pr. 1890 (one-act dramatization), pr. 1936 (three-act dramatization)
Max in Verse, 1963
Collected Verse, 1994
Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm (BIHR-bohm) was the youngest child of his father’s second marriage. Julius E. E. Beerbohm’s first wife bore three sons and a daughter; of these children, the most widely known was the celebrated actor Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. With his second wife, who was the sister of his first wife, Beerbohm had four daughters and a son, Max. Max Beerbohm attended Charterhouse School from 1885 to 1890, when he enrolled at Merton College, Oxford; he left there in 1894 without taking a degree.
During his undergraduate days at Oxford, Beerbohm seems to have avoided most lectures and all athletics and to have been interested mainly in his position as a young man about campus. He made his initial appearances as writer and caricaturist during this time. His first published caricatures appeared in three issues of the Strand Magazine in 1892, and in 1894 he contributed to the first volume of The Yellow Book. In 1895, he accompanied Beerbohm Tree to America as a secretary. After he returned to London, his first published book appeared in 1896 under the title The Works of Max Beerbohm, which included a bibliography of his writings supplied by his publisher, John Lane. The same year also saw publication of his first book of drawings, Caricatures of Twenty-five Gentlemen. In 1898, George Bernard Shaw retired as drama critic of the Saturday Review and appointed Beerbohm to succeed him, introducing him in phrases that were subsequently often quoted: “The younger generation is knocking at the door; and as I open it there steps spritely in the incomparable Max. . . .” Beerbohm conducted the drama criticisms until his own retirement in 1910.
Beerbohm devoted his time to his drawings (which were shown at the Leicester Galleries and later issued in book form), essays, stories, and criticisms. He put together a number of collections of essays, beginning with The Happy Hypocrite in 1897 and simultaneously published books of his caricatures. Rossetti and His Circle is often considered his best work in that genre. His reputation as a writer and caricaturist thus developed in tandem as the two complementary sides of his highly individualized personality. In 1910, Beerbohm married the talented actress Florence Kahn, who came from Memphis, Tennessee, and had achieved great success in productions of Henrik Ibsen’s plays. After the marriage, the Beerbohms retired to the Villino Chiaro near Rapallo, Italy, where they made their home until their deaths. In 1939, Beerbohm was knighted by George VI. After Beerbohm’s wife died in Italy in 1951, he married Elizabeth Jungman, his secretary-companion and a family friend, in a secret ceremony only a month before his own death on May 20, 1956.
When Beerbohm was making his first appearances in the early 1890’s, Oscar Wilde announced that he had “mastered the secret of perpetual old age.” A courtly wit and satirist, Beerbohm, who had seemed old when he was young, aged gracefully and carried his years as a living legend with cavalier ease. His one novel, Zuleika Dobson, which appeared in 1911, is a classic fantasy subtitled An Oxford Love Story. Almost equally well known are the short stories included in Seven Men, in which the seventh man of the stories is the author himself. Beerbohm ranks next to Charles Lamb among England’s personal essayists, and as a humorist and wit he rivals Wilde. He was the master of an individualized and exquisitely disciplined prose style.