"Ah, that is an unfortunate trick which I caught from a writer, a Mr. Beerbohm, who once sat next to me at dinner somewhere. "

It is characteristic of Max Beerbohm’s jesting style to take the unusual step of mentioning himself in his own novel.

 

As a writer, Beerbohm is known as an essayist, critic, and parodist. His first book, The Works of Max Beerbohm (1896), was a collection of his essays, but touches of humour dominate even his serious literary works.

 

Berbohm, like many humorists, conveyed serious messages through humour. For example, it has sometimes been suggested that his first published short story, The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairytale for Tired Men (1897), is a comic version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). Through his theatrical half-brother, Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917), Max Beerbohm met Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), and Beerbohm wrote one of his earliest articles was about Wilde.