Benson (1862-1925) was an English essayist, poet, author and academic, and the 28th Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is noted for writing the words to Land of Hope and Glory for the coronation of Edward VII. Born into a literary family, his brothers included E F Benson, known best for his Mapp and Lucia novels, and Robert Hugh Benson, a priest of the Church of England before converting to Roman Catholicism who also wrote many popular novels. Benson and one of his sisters suffered from a bipolar disorder inherited from their father, but despite his illness he was a distinguished academic and prolific author. He edited the correspondence of Queen Victoria and his literary criticisms of the poems of Rossetti and John Ruskin's writings rank among his best works. He also left one of the longest diaries ever written: some 4 million words. This short novel, written in the form of the narrator's autobiographical reflections, was published in 1907.