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Benson, E(dward) F(rederic)

lucia mapp social london

(British, 1867–1940)

E. F. Benson, born in Berkshire, was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Cambridge-educated, he went on to become a prolific and varied novelist. Benson is most famous for his series of light social satires of 1920s' middle-class England. These centre around two queens of provincial society, Mapp and Lucia. The first novel, Queen Lucia (1920), introduces Lucia, who commands Riseholme, a ‘sleepy’ village in the Cotswolds. She is conjured to superb comic effect as Benson traces the battle for social supremacy between Lucia and Daisy Quantock. Miss Mapp (1922) deals with Lucia's social counterpart, in her South Coast realm, Tilling. Unlike Lucia, Mapp is single and this novel traces her ensnaring of the unsuspecting Major Flint. In Lucia in London (1927) Lucia descends on fashionable London society as the result of an inheritance. Benson also produced ghost stories such as The Room in the Tower (1926).

Jerome K. Jerome, Evelyn Waugh, P. G. Wodehouse  CJ

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