Benebella or The Picture of Virtue

John Thomas

"Beauty is experienced, but the experience can go beyond the things of the eyes and the senses, towards joy and goodness. Goodness leads on to charity and love ... "

Beauty, goodness, and the moral nature of art, are interrelated in this period-piece novella, the design and appearance of which reflects the kind of book privately produced in the late-19th/early 20th century era, in which the story is set.

Benebella is a portrait whose beauty inspires acts of goodness and philanthropy. Unlike Dorian Gray's picture, however - in Oscar Wilde's classic tale - the more Benebella's owner does good works, the more disfigured and ravaged the picture becomes - in a story which overturns the amoral aestheticism of Wilde's character, and the corrupting hedonism of J-K Huysmans' Duc des Esseintes, upon whom Wilde drew.

Published in 1999, this book uses decorations designed early in the 20th century by Dard Hunter (who was a member of the Roycrofters' Arts & Crafts community in East Aurora, New York state), and are now made available by the P22 Type Foundry, Buffalo, N.Y.

5.51

1999 ISBN 0 9534304 0 5

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