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Zuleika Dobson (1911)

by Max Beerbohm

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,474298,652 (3.41)119
Nobody could predict the consequences when ravishing Zuleika Dobson arrives at Oxford to visit her grandfather, the college warden. Formerly a governess, she has landed on the occupation of illusionist, and thanks to her overwhelming beauty - and to a lesser extent her professional talents - she takes the town by storm. However the epidemic of heartache that follows and proceeds to overcome the academic town makes for some of the best comic writing in the history of English literature.… (more)
  1. 30
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    parelle: Gaudy Night could also be subtitled an Oxford Love Story, but that aside it does feature a hilarious situation involving an undergraduate in love.
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» See also 119 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
brilliant ( )
  Overgaard | Aug 21, 2019 |
The best thing I can say about Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm is that it helped me meet the letter “Z” requirement for my 2017 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. I forced myself to keep reading this dated satire long after I lost interest in it.

This novel joins Candide and Gulliver’s Travels as satires that left me bored and bewildered. ( )
  nsenger | May 28, 2017 |
Not too often I give up on a book, but a third of the way in, I just decided to throw in the towel. The author's writing style hasn't aged well and I found the entire story uninteresting and unappealing. The satire and farce just seemed silly and pointless. ( )
  Zumbanista | Dec 6, 2016 |
After being orphaned and failing as a governess, Zuleika Dobson stumbles into a career as a magician. Her beauty plays a bigger role in her success than her skill does, and she prides herself on the fact that every man who sees her falls in love with her. When she visits her grandfather at Oxford for a week, much to her surprise, she falls in love with the Duke of Dorset. When he realizes that he is also in love with her, she scorns him because she claims she is unable to love any man who loves her. The Duke and the rest of the student body vow to kill themselves out of love for Zuleika, and she is thrilled by this amount of attention.

I didn’t enjoy this novel at first because it took several chapters before I realized it was a satire and that Beerbohm’s negative comments about women shouldn’t be taken seriously. After I understood the point of the book, I appreciated the ridiculousness of it, but it was just an average novel for me. It’s a cute idea and entertaining if you’ve got nothing better to do, but there are lots of better books out there. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
For a work that is supposed to be a farce, I found it mostly unfunny. More in the range of amusing. ( )
  charlie68 | Sep 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beerbohm, Maxprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clark, Emma ChichesterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dupee, F. W.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, N. JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lancaster, OIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Illi almae matri
First words
When, in 1911, this book was first published, some people seemed to think it was intended as a satire on such things as the herd instinct, as feminine coquetry, as snobbishness, even as legerdemain; whereas I myself had supposed it was just a fantasy; and as such, I think, it should be regarded by others.

Author's note, 1946.
That old bell, presage of a train, had just sounded through Oxford station; and the undergraduates who were waiting there, gay figures in tweed or flannel, moved to the margin of the platform and gazed idly up the line.

Chapter I.
Quotations
'Oh, I never go in motors,' said Zuleika. 'They make one look like nothing on earth, and like everybody else.'
You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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