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Zuleika Dobson

Sir Max Beerbohm

Book Overview: 

A wickedly funny satire on undergraduate life in Edwardian Oxford’ in which the entire student body of Oxford university including the young, handsome aristocrat the Duke of Dorset falls hopelessly in love with Zuleika who is visiting her grandfather, the warden of Judas college, and ultimately commit mass suicide at the end of ‘Eights Week.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Betty, her maid, who had pinched and teased her at the village-school, but now waited on her so meekly and trembled so fearfully at a scolding; and what with the fine hot dishes that were set before her every day, and the gallant speeches and glances of the fine young gentlemen whom the Duke invited from London, Duchess Meg was quite the happiest Duchess in all England. For a while, she was like a child in a hay-rick. But anon, as the sheer delight of novelty wore away, she began to take a more serious view of her position. She began to realise her responsibilities. She was determined to do all that a great lady ought to do. Twice every day she assumed the vapours. She schooled herself in the mysteries of Ombre, of Macao. She spent hours over the tambour-frame. She rode out on horse-back, with a riding-master. She had a music-master to teach her the spinet; a dancing-master, too, to teach her the Minuet and the Triumph and the Gaudy. All these accomplishments she found mi. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Maybe the way to be a successful writer is to write one really fantastic novel and then that's it. It worked for Harper Lee with To Kill a Mockingbird. And it worked for Max Beerbohm with Zuleika Dobson which made it's way onto the Modern Library Top 100 List. It's not just a list comprised of bo...more

Beerbohm was famous during his era for his witty, airy essays and short works of various types. I believe this was his only novel.

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...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,...more

This is, without doubt, one of the most remarkable novels in the English language. There really is nothing else like it, neither in the style in which it is hewn nor in its odd blend of gentility and pitch black satire and playful authorial first-person flights of fancy. And it's hardly likely th...more

What a strange book. I found it difficult to get through, despite its short length and its occasional brilliance (some would, I guess, say consistent brilliance).

Written in an overwrought style that parodies the pomposity and bloviation of academese, yet studded with a few true gems (I thought,...more

This was different, I'll say that for it. A satire of life at Oxford during the Edwardian years. Way over the top characters who weren't exactly appealing. A love story that was doomed from the start. Quite apparent when the heroine of the tale travels everywhere with a large mirror that has prid...more

-Good day. I wish to speak to a Mr. David, spelled with a little d. From the Isle of Long.

-It’s Lon G-eye-land.

-My apologies, David. Long Island.

-Ach, it’s pronounced…forget it. I’m David.

-Young man, this is the matriculation department at Oxford University, England. My name is Miss Smaller Words...more

This is an oddity. It was Beerbohm's only novel and is a satire of university life at Oxford in the very early twentieth century. There is no need to worry about spoilers, the book does that for you very near the beginning. Most of the characters are as shallow as puddles. There are bursts of mag...more

An exquisite Edwardian oddity – a sort of magic-realist proto-campus-novel about paranoid sexual fantasy, as related by Beau Brummel or Oscar Wilde.

Our eponymous heroine is a personification of feminine desirability – ‘the toast of two hemispheres’, she has already, before the novel begins, ‘rang...more

It didn't take me long to realize my leg was being pulled. This is a satire, a farce really, of Edwardian era life at Oxford University. Beerbohm is poking fun at everyone and everything. Zuleika (pronounced leek, not like) is a femme fatale as striking and deadly as Becky Sharp, although much mo...more

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