The Happy Hypocrite by Max Beerbohm


The spirit of the 1890s persists in this 1915 edition of a story the splendid Max wrote originally for The Yellow Book in 1896. Originally subtitled “A Fairy Tale for Tired Men”, The Happy Hypocrite is a typically light-hearted affair concerning the misadventures of one Lord George Hell. The setting is the Regency era so beloved of many of the London Decadents, Aubrey Beardsley included, and the rather fine illustrations are by George Sheringham whose style was distinctive enough to avoid any Beardsley pastiche. The copy preserved at the Internet Archive includes a number of full-colour plates but time and the vicissitudes of reproduction haven’t done them any favours, hence the concentration here on the monochrome drawings.












Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of George Sheringham, 1884–1937

5 thoughts on “The Happy Hypocrite by Max Beerbohm”

  1. Totally off-topic I know, but just thought I’d mention that your Morlock Night cover features in a Rick Poynor article about science fiction books in the new issue of Creative Review.

  2. Gabriel: Beerbohm was a good friend of Wilde’s so I imagine his title is a deliberate reference to the earlier story, especially when its subtitle calls it a fairy tale. Beerbohm enjoyed parodying his friends, many of whom appear in his caricatures. Wikipedia says this story is a parody of Dorian Gray although I don’t know whether this was a specific intention.

    Dave: Thanks, I knew about that since they had to ask me for a high-res copy of the artwork. I saw the new issue online yesterday but haven’t seen a paper copy yet.

  3. I have written a musical play based on and called The Happy Hypocrite which is scheduled for production in September of next year at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, one of the few remaining (1919) Georgian theatres still in business.. The web site (the is currently under construction but should be accessible in a day or two

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