Max Beerbohm was an English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist best known for his witty literary style and satirical works.
Born in London in 1872, Beerbohm was part of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras of British culture. While a student at Oxford University in the 1890s, he befriended writers like Oscar Wilde and made a name for himself as a dandy figure and teller of humorous stories in the London social scene.
Beerbohm went on to publish collections of essays, sketches, and short stories that gently mocked the pretensions and superficialities of British high society using inventive wordplay and urbane observation. Notable early works included The Works of Max Beerbohm (1896), Zuleika Dobson (1911)—a sendup of undergraduate life at Oxford, and A Christmas Garland (1912)—a parody of literary styles.
In 1898, Beerbohm left London to live abroad in Rapallo, Italy. There he shifted towards writing biographical essays, drama criticism, and poetic reminiscences of Edwardian England like Heroines of History (1901) while also producing his renowned caricatures for publications back home.
Beerbohm became revered as a “writer’s writer” whose affinity for minor absurdities and flair for fanciful prose left a lasting mark on subsequent stylists. Beerbohm continued writing nearly up until his death in 1956, having cemented his legacy as one of England’s great men of letters.
What was Max Beerbohm’s last words?
Max Beerbohm’s last words on record to his wife was “Thanks for everything.”