Monday, September 05, 2005

Who You Callin' "Incomparable"?

In June of 1921, Max Beerbohm wrote discouragingly to a prospective biographer that he, Max, was not [as Shaw had labeled him] "the incomparable Max," but rather (as the humorists had it) "the comparable Max." Beerbohm continued, "I am not incomparable. Compare me. Compare me as an essayist (for instance] with other essayists. Point out what an ignoramus I am beside Belloc, and how Chesterton's high spirits and abundance shame me." And so on. The biographer, Bohun Lynch, had mentioned he was planning a little book. "Oh, keep it little!" begged the incomparable Max. [S.N. Behrman, Portrait of Max, Random House, 1960, 21-22]

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