Book Review: Maxims From The Writings Of Mgr. Benson

Maxims From The Writings Of Mgr. Benson, by Robert Hugh Benson

This book is a very short one, at just over 100 pages, and its contents are rudimentary enough that they can be easily addressed in a short review, as they consist of short quotations from various essays and books by the author. The quotes themselves vary widely in terms of their accuracy and their level of insight and interest. Some of the statements appear to be very insightful and worthwhile, and for these it is probably worth looking through this book briefly for at least something worthwhile and quotable. A great many of the maxims included would have been better with some context, and quite a few may politely be termed problematic, not least for the anti-intellectual attitude that the author brings to bear on questions of faith and knowledge. Thankfully, if this book is not a particularly enjoyable book to read, it is certainly by no means a long one, and being short and rather unambitious, consisting of scattered quotes from an odd and obscure body of work, with nothing but the quote as well as the work from which it is cited, this is not a book that is going to place too many demands upon the reader, and that is for the best.

At least a few aspects of the work are worthy of some comment. It is striking and somewhat unusual, it must be admitted, that someone thought that this author was worthy of having his writings combed through for witty maxims. It is less surprising that few people appear to have read this book in the last few decades, as the author was an obscure Catholic writer, best known for a faith-based trilogy, who died young and did not leave any particularly influential disciples after him. And again, it should be noted that this book is not nearly as interesting as it could have been. Imagine, for example, the sort of people whose witty maxims could fill a book of intriguing material to use as quotations or titles for works, and then imagine that instead of that kind of writer, what you get is someone who is decidedly hit and miss. If a writer like this one can be viewed as worthy of such a work as this one, there are a great many other writers who are at least as worthy if not more.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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