Robert Hugh Benson
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|Robert Hugh Benson|
Photo of Benson by G. Jerrard, 1912
|Born||Robert Hugh Benson
November 18, 1871
Wellington College, Berkshire
|Died||19 October 1914
Bishop's house Salford Cathedral, Salford
|Parents||Edward White Benson and Mary Sidgwick Benson|
Robert Hugh Benson AFSC KC*SG KGCHS (18 November 1871 – 19 October 1914) was an English Anglican priest who joined the Roman Catholic Church (1903) in which he was ordained priest in 1904. He was lauded in his own day as one of the leading figures in English literature, having written the notable book Lord of the World.
In 1895, Benson was ordained a priest in the Church of England by his father who was the then Archbishop of Canterbury.
After his father died suddenly in 1896, Benson was sent on a trip to the Middle East to recover his own health. While there he began to question the status of the Church of England and to consider the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. His own piety began to tend toward the High Church tradition and he started exploring religious life in various Anglican communities, eventually obtaining permission to join the Community of the Resurrection.
Benson made his profession as a member of the community in 1901, at which time he had no thoughts of leaving the Church of England. As he continued his studies and began writing, however, he became more and more uneasy with his own doctrinal position and, on 11 September 1903, he was received into the Catholic Church. He was awarded the Dignitary of Honour of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Benson was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1904 and sent to Cambridge. He continued his writing career along with his ministry as a priest.
Like both his brothers, Edward Frederic Benson ("Fred") and Arthur Christopher Benson, Robert wrote many ghost and horror stories, collected in The Light Invisible (1903) and A Mirror of Shallott (1907).  His 1907 novel, Lord of the World, is generally regarded as one of the first modern dystopias (see List of dystopian literature). 
As a young man, Benson recalled, he had rejected the idea of marriage as “quite inconceivable”. Then, in 1904, soon after his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest, he formed a chaste but passionate friendship with Frederick Rolfe. For two years this relationship involved letters “not only weekly, but at times daily, and of an intimate character, exhaustingly charged with emotion”. All letters were subsequently destroyed, probably by Benson’s brother.
Benson died in 1914 in Salford, where he had been preaching a mission. At his request, he was buried in the orchard of Hare Street House; his house in the Hertfordshire village of Hare Street. A chapel, dedicated to St Hugh, was built over the site. Benson bequeathed the house to the Catholic Church as a county retreat for the Archbishop of Westminster. The Roman Catholic church in the nearby town of Buntingford, which he helped finance, is dedicated to St Richard of Chichester, but also known as the Benson Memorial Church.
- A Mirror of Shalott, Benziger Brothers, 1907.
- Lord of the World, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1908 [1st Pub. 1907].
- The Dawn of All, B. Herder, 1911.
- By What Authority?, Isbister, 1904.
- Come Rack! Come Rope!, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1913 [1st Pub. 1912].
- Oddsfish!, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1914.
- The King's Achievement, Burns Oates & Washbourne, Lrd., 1905.
- The Queen's Tragedy, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd., 1907.
- The History of Richard Raynal, Solitary, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd., 1912.
- Initiation, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1914.
- The Light Invisible, Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd., 1906.
- The Sentimentalists, Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd., 1906.
- The Conventionalists, Hutchinson & Co., 1908.
- The Necromancers, Hutchinson & Co., 1909.
- The Winnowing, B. Herder, 1910.
- None other gods, B. Herder, 1911.
- The Coward, B. Herder, 1912.
- An Average Man, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1913.
- Loneliness?, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1915.
- Alphabet of Saints, with Reginald Balfour and Charles Ritchie, illustraded by L. D. Symington, Oates & Washbourne, 1905.
- A Child's Rule of Life, illustrated by Gabriel Pippet, digitized by Richard Mammana.
- Old Testament Rhymes, illustrated by Gabriel Pippet.
- Vexilla Regis: A Book of Devotions and Intercessions, Longmans, Green & Co., 1915 [1st Pub. 1914].
- A Book of the Love of Jesus: A Collection of Ancient English Devotions in Prose and Verse, Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1915.
- The Friendship of Christ, Longmans, Green & Co., 1914 [1st Pub. 1912].
- The Religion of the Plain Man, Burns & Oates, 1906.
- Papers of a Pariah, Longmans, Green & Co., 1907.
- Christ in the Church: A Volume of Religious Essays, Longmans, Green & Co., 1911.
- Confessions of a Convert, Longmans, Green & Co., 1913.
- Paradoxes of Catholicism, Longmans, Green & Co., 1913.
- Lourdes, The Manresa Press, 1914.
- Spiritual Letters of Monsignor R. Hugh Benson: to One of his Converts, Longmans, Green & Co., 1915.
- A Book of Essays, Catholic Truth Society, 1916.
- Sermon Notes, First Series: Anglican, Second Series: Catholic, Longmans, Green & Co., 1917.
- Non-Catholic Denominations, Longmans, Green & Co., 1921.
- The Cost of a Crown, a Story of Douay & Durham; a Sacred Drama in Three Acts, Longmans, Green & Co., 1910.
- A Mystery Play in Honour of the Nativity of Our Lord, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908.
- The Maid of Orleans, a Drama of the Life of Joan of Arc, Longmans, Green & Co., 1911.
- The Upper Room, a Drama of Christ's Passion, Longmans, Green & Co., 1914.
- “The State of Religion in England,” The Catholic World, Vol. LXXXIV, October 1906/March 1907.
- "The Dissolution of the Religious Houses." In Renascence and Reformation (From The Cambridge History of English Literature, 15 Vols), 1908.
- "Letters of Queen Victoria, 1837-1861," The Dublin Review, Vol. CXLII, January/April 1908.
- "Christian Science," The Dublin Review, Vol. CXLIII, No. 286, October 1908.
- "Spiritualism," The Dublin Review, Vol. CXLV, No. 290-291, July/October, 1909.
- "A Catholic Colony," The Dublin Review, Vol. CXLVI, January/April, 1910.
- "Catholicism and the Future," The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. CVI, 1910.
- "Phantasms of the Dead," The Dublin Review, Vol. CL, No. 300-301, January/April, 1912.
- "Cosmopolitanism and Catholicism," The North American Review, September 1912.
- "Cardinal Gasquet," The Dublin Review, Vol. CLV, July/October, 1914.
- The Holy Blissful Martyr Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Benziger Brothers, 1910.
- The Life of Saint Teresa, Herbert & Daniel, 1912.
- Poems, Burns & Oates, 1915.
- Maxims from the Writings of Mgr. Benson, By the compiler of "Thoughts from Augustine Birrell," R. & T. Washbourne Ltd., 1915.
- Mike Ashley, "The Essential Writers: Blood Brothers" (Profile of E.F. , A.C. and R. H. Benson). Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine (p. 63-70). May/June 1984.
- "Benson, Robert Hugh (BN890RH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Benson, Robert Hugh. Confessions of a Convert, Longmans, Green and Co., 1913.
- Martindale, C. C. The Life of Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, Vol. 2, Longmans, Green & Co., 1916, page 96
- Hilliard, David. "UnEnglish and UnManly: Anglo-Catholicism and Homosexuality" in Victorian Studies, Winter 1982.
- Benson, A.C. Hugh: Memoirs of a Brother. Dodo Press. p. 210. ISBN 1406548197.
- "The Dawn of All," The Bookman, September 1911.
- Cooper, Frederick Taber. "The Accustomed Manner and Some Recent Novels," The Bookman, May 1914.
- Beesley, Thomas Quinn (1916). "The Poetry of Robert Hugh Benson," The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. XII, pp. 122–134.
- Benson, Arthur B. (1915). Hugh: Memoir of a Brother. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers.
- Bour'his, Jean Morris le (1980). Robert Hugh Benson, Homme de Foi et Artiste. Atelier Reproduction de Thèses, Université de Lille III.
- Braybrooke, Patrick (1931). "Robert Hugh Benson; Novelist and Philosopher." In: Some Catholic Novelists. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne.
- Brown, Stephen J.M. & Thomas McDermott (1945). A Survey of Catholic Literature. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company.
- Concannon, Helena (1914). "Robert Hugh Benson, Novelist," Part II, The Catholic World, Vol. XCIX, pp. 487–498, 635–645.
- Gorce, Agnès de La (1928). Robert Hugh Benson: Prêtre et Romancier, 1871-1914. Paris: Plon.
- Grayson, Janet (1998). Robert Hugh Benson: Life and Works. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.
- Watt, Reginald J.J. (1918). Robert Hugh Benson: Captain in God's Army. London: Burns & Oates Ldt.
- Warre Cornish, Blanche (1914). Memorials of Robert Hugh Benson. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons.
- Mahon, Joseph H. (1915). "The Late Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson," Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, Vol. XXVI, pp. 55–63.
- Monaghan, Sister Mary Saint Rita (1985). Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson: His Apostolate and Its Message for Our Time. Brisbane, Qld.: Boolarong Publications.
- Martindale, C.C. (1916). The Life of Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, Vol. 2. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
- Ross, Allan (1915). Monsignor Hugh Benson (1871-1914). The Catholic Truth Society.
- Parr, Olive Katherine (1915). Robert Hugh Benson: An Appreciation. London: Hutchinson & Co.
- Shuster, Norman (1922). "Robert Hugh Benson and the Aging Novel." In: The Catholic Spirit in Modern English Literature. New York: The Macmillan Company, pp. 208–228.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Hugh Benson.|
- Biographical Portrait of Msgr. Benson
- Works by or about Robert Hugh Benson at Internet Archive (search optimized for the non-Beta site)
- Works by Robert Hugh Benson at Project Gutenberg (plain text and HTML)
- R. H. Benson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Works by or about Robert Hugh Benson in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Spanish Web Site on Robert Hugh Benson
- R. H. Benson at AuthorWars.com
- Catholic Authors: R. H. Benson
- Biography Hugh: Memoirs of a Brother by Arthur Christopher Benson