Originally published in 1911, Max Beerbohm's sparklingly wicked satire concerns the unlikely events that occur when a femme f ...more
My, my, my, my, my.
Not one for the casual reader.
Briefly: My, my, my, my, my.
Less briefly: A tale told in high register, of arrogance and honor, the fine lines between conflicting emotions, irony, Oxford University, the righteous and the self-righteous, the femme fatale, fantasy meeting reality, anticipatory metafiction—wondrously frustrating and frequently comic, keep a dictionary at hand (a good one). Cormac McCarthy meets Jane Austen, or Bartleby, the Scrivener in extremis.
There were a number of novels about femme fatales* during that era, after Benson's Dodo, and Hope's (much more witty and readable) Dolly Dialogues--and at the serious end, Henry James' various lapidary, even microscopic looks at females who destroyed men's lives--but this one was meant to be satire. Zuleika, born poor, was an unhappy governess, ignorant and uninterest ...more
Written in an overwrought style that parodies the pomposity and bloviation of academese, yet studded with a few true gems (I thought, when I read it the first time, that the line "Death cancels all engagements" was quoting something, but it actually appears to be a Beerbohm original), Zuleika Dobson follows the titular heroine as she.. ...more
The fact that the Modern Library had to recently print this edition, otherwise no one would have ever found it, shows its obscurity (now available at your local used bookstore). I mean no one reads Ulysses and you can find that anywhere.
A tale of the beautiful, up from the working class Zuleika, granddaughter of the Oxford dean, who visits the college and has everyone fall in love with her.
This satire of ...more
The title character is this real hot tamale who arrives in Oxford to visit her grandfather, the Warden of the college. In the short ti ...more
Zuleika Dobson is simply the most beautiful young woman around. Invited for a vis ...more
The story is about a young woman who is very beautiful; she has a successful conjuring act (although she is not very good at it). ...more
Zuleika Dobson is supposedly a comic story about a femme fatale. The Duke of Dorset and hundreds of Oxford undergraduates killed themselves for love of Zuleika, a vain and self-serving young lady who thrived on self-display and the swooning admiration of young men.
The tone of this classic was playful and snobbish. The story deliberately poked fun at preten ...more
In truth, I think it misleading to call Zuleika Dobson a novel. It has les ...more
"Death cancels all engagements," in this morbidly funny satire of undergraduate life at Oxford. When a beautiful magician swears she can love no man susceptible to her charms she sets off a dangerous taste for suicide among the college boys.
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
I think Zuleika Dobson suffers from the fact that modern readers cannot read it from a 1911 viewpoint. In a world filled with people who are famous despite their mediocrity -- and somet ...more
On another small table stood Zuleika's library. Both books were in covers of dull gold. On the back of one cover BRADSHAW, in beryls, was encrusted; on the back of the other, A.B.C. GUIDE, in amethysts, beryls, chrysoprases, and garnets.I could not miss that her "library" contained all of two books. Not being British, I missed that the two books were railway guides.
I may have missed some other wit as well, but even 100 years ...more
The author claims, in 1946, that it was not written as a satire. He said he had written it as a ...more
I fail to see how anyone could find the character of Zuleika charming, but I am told th ...more
So, I’ll say the book is f-ing brilliant, I’ll outline the story and c ...more
The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called literary "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label
Essay #41: Zuleika Dobson, by Max Beerbohm (1911)
The story in a nutshell:
Originally published in 1911, Max Beerbohm's novella-sized Zuleika Dobson is in act ...more
Beerbohm's writing is strikingly modern, he occasionally breaks the third wall and speaks directly to the reader. His humor is often laugh out loud funny and endearing without ever being schmaltzy. There is nothing stiff about this British book, many characters suffer from a certain rigi ...more
"My beauty! How I hate it!" sighed Zuleika. "Still, here it is, and I must needs make the best of it.” (p 134)
„One has never known a good man to whom dogs were not dear; but many of the best women have no such fondness. You will find that the woman who is really kind to dogs is always o ...more
I wish a professor would use this quotation as his email signature: "Generations of undergraduates had said that Oxford would be all very well but for the dons. Do you suppose that the dons had had no answering sentiment?"
a treatise on manners and vanity,
a science fiction novel because of the speaking apparitions, the symbolic owls and the moody pearls,
a study on religion concerning self-will and the Olympian gods,
a love story,
a mockery of fashion, speech and nationality (especially the Scots),
or just an author grinning like mad, putting us on and and writing out of pique.