Read Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm Online


One woman's beauty fells the whole of Oxford in this sidesplitting classic campus novel.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 prestidigitator, and thanks to her overwhelming beauty—and to a lesser extent her professional tOne woman's beauty fells the whole of Oxford in this sidesplitting classic campus novel.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 prestidigitator, and thanks to her overwhelming beauty—and to a lesser extent her professional talents—she takes the town by storm, gaining admittance to her grandfather's college. It is there, at the institution inspired by Beerbohm's own alma mater, that she falls in love the Duke of Dorset, who duly adores her in return. Ever aware of appearances, however, Zuleika breaks the Duke's heart when she decides that she must abandon the match. The epidemic of heartache that proceeds to overcome the academic town makes for some of the best comic writing in the history of English literature....

Title : Zuleika Dobson
Author :
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ISBN : 9780375752483
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 252 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Zuleika Dobson Reviews

  • Mike Puma
    2019-05-07 06:37

    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. Prophetically: More Beerbohm in my future.For a real review, and a good one, see James’ review

  • Warwick
    2019-05-15 04:51

    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, ‘ranged in triumphal nomady’ around the capitals of Europe; Paris falls prostrate at her feet, Madrid throws a vast bullfight in her honour, the Grand Duke of Petersburg falls in love with her, and the Pope launches an ineffective Bull against her influence. Now, laden with innumerable jewels and dresses, she arrives in Oxford, where her powers seem to reach new heights. Soon, every undergraduate in the city is so obsessed with her that they all resolve to commit suicide in her name.Zuleika herself is a strangely insubstantial creature, described at one point as ‘a vagrom breeze, warm and delicate, and in league with death’. She cares for nobody. At first, thinking that arch-dandy the Duke of Dorset is impervious to her charms, she falls violently in love with him; but when she discovers that he, too, is crazy for her, she goes off him at once. When men fight over her, instead of intervening she steps back, eyes dilating. The old truism about how over-interest is unattractive here finds unusually strong expression.‘As soon as I grew used to the thought that they were going to die for me, I simply couldn't stand them. Poor boys! it was as much as I could do not to tell them I wished them dead already.’There have been arguments over the polarity of Max Beerbohm's sexuality; I have to say, this would seem an unusual novel to write if you didn't have at least some interest in women, although certainly Zuleika Dobson represents a rather nervous and overawed (if very funny) view of them. Then again, perhaps he was gay as a window and the whole mass suicide thing is meant to be a satire on heterosexual relationships.Either way, what makes this book such a total joy to read is Beerbohm's ornate, precise prose style, which allows him a mastery of various comic effects – irony, bathos, conversational wit. Objectionable characters are dismissed casually as being ‘odious with the worst abominations of perfumery’ (a phrase to steal), or in the case of one unfortunate individual,looking like nothing as much as a gargoyle hewn by a drunken stone-mason for the adornment of a Methodist Chapel in one of the vilest suburbs of Leeds or Wigan.Beerbohm can employ beautiful throwaway references to – for instance – ‘the ascending susurrus of a silk skirt’, but he can also launch into these gravely portentous ejaculations that I found unaccountably hilarious:Aye, by all minerals we are mocked. Vegetables, yearly deciduous, are far more sympathetic.Having spent all of my twenties compiling vast notebooks of vocabulary from my reading, it is rare now that a book teaches me any new words, but this one sent me gleefully to the dictionary to check such beauties as opetide or disseizin, and left me relishing such coinages as omnisubjugant, virguncule and commorients. Here is a writer with panache, and wit, and superb technical control – and, probably, some issues, but all the more reason to read him and enjoy him. How devastating that this was his only novel: it's a weird, unmissable delight.

  • Evan
    2019-05-16 06:50

    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 that a more frivolous book has ever been written so well. The book is overwritten not to a fault, but to its credit. The dazzling turning of the phrase is Beerbohm's great strength. Every sentence is a marvel. Having said that, it is definitely not for all tastes. In fact, it took me three attempts to get into this book, the first being all the way back in the early 1980s when I bought it! This is one you have to be ready for, or Beerbohm's meticulous, verbose style and oddly humorous conceits will stymie you.Example:Whereas you or I might write: "He tended to not become drunk from wine like his companions," Beerbohm writes:"His was a head that had always hitherto defied the grape. But he thought that to-day, by all he had gone through, by all the shocks he had suffered, and the strains he had steeled himself to bear, as well as by the actual malady that gripped him, he might perchance have been sapped enough to experience by reaction that cordial glow of which he had now and again seen symptoms in his fellows."Without having read any of Beerbohm's other fiction for reference, I have to think nonetheless that the high-flown stiltedness is meant to spoof the pretensions of academia.The story's "plot" hardly prepares one for the arsenal of tricks Beerbohm displays. It is probably appropo, then, that his title heroine, Zuleika, wins her fame as a travelling magician. In this book, she has been invited to stay at Oxford University by her grandfather, a doddering curmudgeon who fails to realize the consequences when Zuleika's presence on the campus leads to absurd mass hysteria and tragedy. It seems there is something magical in her airs, and in the air, when she arrives, and every man falls insanely in love with her. Most smitten, but not showing it in his steely aristocratic arrogance, is the Duke of Dorset. For Zuleika, this is a novelty, for she cannot bring herself to love men who worship and pander to her. Unfortunately for the Duke, he doesn't realize this, and when she turns her attentions to him he becomes as openly smitten as the others. The consequence is that she spurns him and he promises to her that he will commit suicide in "revenge," a gesture that Dobson appreciates -- as long as he actually goes through with it. Trouble is, the idea spreads among the entire campus! A good deal of the book after this set-up is devoted to the impending suicide of the Duke, and depending on your patience this long section will either seem interminable or deeply moving. For me, it was the latter.Along the way, Beerbohm throws verbiage at you that will greatly expand your vocabulary. There are running jokes and phrases that are repeated by different characters. Sometimes he steps out of the narrative to remind you that this is a story, and even though it's fiction he pretends that it's an accurate historical account. He even "argues" with you, the reader, telling you to stop interrupting the telling of the story with your questions or second-guesses! He also employs a sort of magical realism, which I usually hate, but here is charming. The Roman statues on the campus seem to have a mind of their own, wondering about the follies of youth and even wishing to play matchmakers. A painting of a former campus luminary in the Junta club harbors a ghost that becomes offended by a student's comment and deigns to fight "a duel" and hurl 18th century curses at him, completely unknown to the student mortals. The Goddess Clio and the God Zeus guide the author himself, allowing him to float ghostlike, omnisciently over the action. The ghosts of Chopin and George Sand look over the Duke's shoulder as he plays his "farewell" piano concert. Two mysterious owls are uncaged by the gods whenever a member of the ducal line is to die. Unfortunately, the gods uncage them a day too early. Fates meant by the gods for some befall others. The playful intercession of the gods over the action lends a classical flavor to this bizarre campus story as well as being absurdly funny.This one-of-a-kind novel could be the dead white male's stiff-upper-lip version of The Virgin Suicides, and the mercilessless of its femme fatale puts me to mind of the girl in Pierre Louys' The Woman and the Puppet, but Zuleika is not so much a vicious tease as an innocent who receives pleasure, though not love, from her notoriety. Beerbohm makes it clear that she is not a narcissist, but there are elements of it in her vanity.Zuleika is a literary construct, no doubt; something of her time and defined mainly by her effect on men. But that and the plot are not the book's strengths. There are obvious cautionary themes in this about the herd mentality, extreme sacrifice and noble aristocratic honor, as well as about the inevitable misreading of romantic intentions between men and women.Amid the fun, there also are thoughtful nuggets, such as these:"They held that the future was theirs, a glorious asset, far moreglorious than the past. But a theory, as the Duke saw, is one thing, an emotion another. It is so much easier to covet what one hasn't than to revel in what one has. Also, it is so much easier to be enthusiastic about what exists than about what doesn't. The future doesn't exist. The past does. For, whereas all men can learn, the gift of prophecy has died out. A man cannot work up in his breast any real excitement about what possibly won't happen. He cannot very well help being sentimentally interested in what he knows has happened.""Even you, unassuming reader, go about with a vague notion that in your case, somehow, the ultimate demand of nature will be waived. The Duke, until he conceived his sudden desire to die, had deemed himself certainly exempt. And now, as he sat staring at his window, he saw in the paling of the night the presage of the dawn of his own last day.""There lay Oxford far beneath me, like a map in grey and black and silver. All that I had known only as great single things I saw now outspread in apposition, and tiny; tiny symbols, as it were, of themselves, greatly symbolising their oneness. There they lay, these multitudinous and disparate quadrangles, all their rivalries merged in the making of a great catholic pattern. And the roofs of the buildings around them seemed level with their lawns. No higher the roofs of the very towers. Up from their tiny segment of the earth's spinning surface they stood negligible beneath infinity. And new, too, quite new, in eternity; transient upstarts. I saw Oxford as a place that had no more past and no more future than a mining-camp. I smiled down. O hoary and unassailable mushroom!... But if a man carry his sense of proportion far enough, lo! he is back at the point from which he started. He knows that eternity, as conceived by him, is but an instant in eternity, and infinity but a speck in infinity. How should they belittle the things near to him?... Oxford was venerable and magical, after all, and enduring. Aye, and not because she would endure was it the less lamentable that the young lives within her walls were like to be taken. My equanimity was gone; and a tear fell on Oxford.""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. If man were not a gregarious animal, the world might have achieved, by this time, some real progress towards civilisation. Segregate him, and he is no fool. But let him loose among his fellows, and he is lost--he becomes just an unit in unreason... A crowd, proportionately to its size, magnifies all that in its units pertains to the emotions, and diminishes all that in them pertains to thought."----Were it ever thus...The book is a masterpiece.

  • Duane
    2019-04-30 09:56

    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 more naive. She lays waste to the entire undergraduate population of Oxford, and at the end is looking for the train schedule to Cambridge. Comedy with a touch of darkness, this novel is well written and very entertaining. Modern Library liked it well enough to put it on their list of 100 best English language novels of the 20th century. It's also on Guardian's list of 1,000 books to read.

  • K.J. Charles
    2019-04-27 03:45

    Dear God that was excruciating. A comic novel of sparkling wit and effervescent ya di yah, aka a painfully dated, mannered, twee, horrifyingly self-satisfied period piece with about two good lines that have survived the century since its writing. "Unfunny" isn't the half of it; Beerbohm must have been the biggest bore unhung on this basis. Recommended for dullards who go on and on and *on* about having been to Oxford, and literally nobody else.

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-04-28 04:55

    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 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 uninterested in academics, and pretty on top of it, so she seldom lasted long at any place. As soon as the house's young master took a look at her, she'd be sent packing . . . but not before one son taught her conjuring.She soon was world famous for her conjuring act, and rich, but her heart was untouched. She comes to visit an old relative in Oxford, and instantly falls "in love" with a Duke just because he scorns her--as he falls in love with her because she scorns him. Then all of Oxford falls in love with her, and all the young men commit suicide for love.This was apparently funny at the time. It was not funny to me--it was actually kind of painful, not the suicides of characters with all the depth of kleenex, but because of the Oxford depicted there. It really was the old world, the Oxford Evelyn Waugh, for example, badly wanted to belong to, if only he could have been born a few years earlier and much higher on the social scale then he was. It was Lord Peter Wimsy's Oxford. When you consider that this book came out in 1911, it's difficult not to imagine these swan-like young men sent off to the Somme, a few years later, had they not expired for love of a very, very boring girl with a pretty face.Three stars for its being interesting as a cultural artifact, but as a story? Meh. A few funny lines, some wit, but most of it very, very dated.*It could be that Beerbohm was making fun of Mary Sue characters way back in 1911, which idea would almost be enough for another star, but she was still boring to read about.

  • Drew
    2019-05-18 07:40

    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, 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...well, the only thing she really does is arrive at Oxford and drive hundreds of young men to suicide for love of her.As near as I can tell, this is a satire of and about appearances. Are we what we pretend to be? And if not, which is more important: our nature or our appearance? I won't say whether ZD answers either question, but there are some great passages discussing it.One main overarching problem I had with ZD was the misogyny. Probably people give Beerbohm a pass here because no character is safe from his withering satire, but I felt that Zuleika herself came out by far the worst. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed this if I hadn't simultaneously been reading The Golden Notebook, but I don't buy that either. Zuleika is flighty, entitled, emotional, haughty, and has grown rich and famous (despite her mediocrity as a conjurer) purely by trading on her looks. Looks are, in fact, her only redeeming quality. And though the mass suicide makes the entire male sex look like a bunch of gullible oafs, her satisfaction after said mass suicide seems much worse. And Katie, the only other main female character, isn't much better, though to go into detail about that would spoil some of the few important plot developments.In short: by turns, excellent, facile, lapidary, infuriating, and, above all, so very English.

  • El
    2019-05-17 08:57

    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 boring dead white guys. Some of them are actually pretty good it seems.The title character is this real hot tamale who arrives in Oxford to visit her grandfather, the Warden of the college. In the short time she is there every student who crosses her path falls in love with her. But she's one of those who refuses to accept the advances of any man who falls for her charms (very similar to Groucho Marx refusing to be a part of any club who would want him as a member I suppose). The dark humor of the story comes when the would-be suitors decide they can not go on living without her.This is a satire, but done with some class. I found myself thinking of rewatching There's Something About Mary a few times while reading this, in that all of the male characters go to great lengths to win the heart of this one woman. Zuleika is quite the femme fatale and would give Mary a run for her money, however. And I can't imagine her ever going for Brett Favre.

  • carltheaker
    2019-04-29 08:35

    The advisors who put this book on the Modern Library Top 100 should be taken out and shot!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 Edwardian England is a pain, or more of chore to read, as social satire is peculiar to its era and much is lost on the reader, ok me anyway. Even so there are some funny moments that shine through.The positives are you learn something of Beerbohm who was popular in his day and Zuleika is referenced in another ML100 novel 'The Magus' where two women are compared to Zuleika, which makes you feel well read, amazing.

  • Alex
    2019-05-23 09:34

    My goal in life is to someday look up a book and find out that El hasn't already read it.Lauren: "I recommend this book to anyone who liked Heathers."Me: "So should I just whip it out, or..."

  • Jacob Appel
    2019-05-15 04:32

    Zuleika Dobson is one of those rare, brilliant, unclassifiable novels (think Tristram Shandy or Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner) that succeeds against all odds, drawing upon a rather implausible premise and peppering the narrative with seemingly haphazard intrusions. The language proves so elevated (for comic effect) that even the most devoted lexicologist stands to expand his or her vocabulary. The references often grasp at the obscure -- although I confess my Attic Greek is rusty. Yet the book is more than a period piece that merely mocks the foibles and absurdities of Edwardian England. It somehow manages to capture the universal, while deeply buried in the particular. Alas, I fear it is one of those novels whose appeal and success simply defy logical explanation. It just works. And even today, it has moments that are still darn funny. Had this novel been written in the aftermath of World War I, it would have been seen as a dramatic commentary on the ludicrous mass sacrifice of modern warfare. Published as it was several years earlier, it is oddly prescient and also inexplicable in its satire. If I were teaching this novel in a creative writing class, I might warn the students, "Admire Beerbohm's writing--but don't try it at home."Not an easy bedtime read, but well worth the effort.

  • Bruce
    2019-05-08 06:57

    This scathingly witty satire of Edwardian society in Oxford University is well worth reading. Beerbohm always has a sharp view of his society and culture, and this was the only novel he wrote, amongst all his shorter writings. Master of the aperçu, Beerbohm plays with language itself in service to his often jaundiced vision of social interaction, the result being highly entertaining prose with insightful commentary.Zuleika Dobson is simply the most beautiful young woman around. Invited for a visit by her grandfather, Warden of Judas College, Oxford, she immediately turns the heads of every undergraduate male she encounters. But tired of being adored for her looks alone, she detests any young man who loves her, setting up an apparently unresolvable dilemma. Initially, however, she believes that a rich and self-satisfied student, a Duke, does not love her, and she falls for him until she realizes that his apparent disinterest is merely a pose. Eventually the Duke decides that a heroic end to and demonstration of his love would be his suicide, and that gesture then becomes the model for all the other undergraduates as well.This is not a deep book by any means, although it does ponder human psychology in an interesting way. However, it certainly provides an enjoyable and highly diverting few hours of pleasure reading. Beerbohm always does.

  • Paul
    2019-05-14 01:36

    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 magic realism occasional ghosts, Greek gods and lots of style with no depth. 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). She visits her grandfather who is warden of an Oxford college. All the undergraduates fall in love with her, except one. She obviously falls in love with him. When he returns her love she quite obviously falls out of love with him. He despairs and declares he will dies for her. Eventually the whole undergraduate population (all male of course) commit mass suicide in the river after the rowing. The Oxford colleges don't notice they are missing and carry on. Zuleika heads off to Cambridge at the end of the book.Completely mad and very funny in parts with lots of classical references; wonderfully satirical account of romantic love. This is a particular type of humour and is an acquired taste, I can understand why some people might hate it or find it boring.

  • Laysee
    2019-04-25 08:58

    The best way to read Zuleika Dobson is to suspend disbelief and to put one's brain in parking mode. If this is satire, it is of mean quality.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 pretentious social behaviours. In this novel were some of the silliest and most saccharinely nauseating protestations of love! One can keel over from a surfeit of honeyed drool. It was quite entertaining initially and then as Zuleika's narcissism and the undergraduates' herd mentality thickened, all that insanity became old, tedious, exasperating, and exceedingly annoying. How Zuleika Dobson made it to the list of must-read classics is a mystery. Two grudging stars. It is highly not recommended.

  • Amy Vedder
    2019-05-13 01:46

    Beerbohm's only novel is a satire of university life at Oxford in the very early twentieth century. I was impressed by the vividly characters and the depth of the satire. It's not easy to find good satire books for the lack of demand because satire is not as popular a genre as many others.A young beautiful woman visits her grandfather who is warden of an Oxford college. Everyone at the college falls in love with her, except one whom she falls in love with. The book is a very different kind of humor that appealed to me a lot. I am not sure if this will appeal universally! Great book!

  • Anna
    2019-05-07 05:52

    I am giving Zuleika Dobson four stars as it proved a suitable distraction from the ongoing Brexit fiasco. It reminded me of a black-dyed meringue - sweet, light, fluffy, and very dark. The story is essentially all about death, suicide in fact, while also being a light-hearted magical realist Oxford farce. An interesting and ununusual combination. Although I read the illustrated edition, I must say the pictures didn't do much for me. They were charming enough, but chopped up the text is a rather provoking fashion. I was much more fond of the words, especially grandiose words like peripety, aseity, and orgulous, none of which I'd come across before. Beerbohm has a knack for turn of phrase, rather like a less sunny Wodehouse:Aye, by all minerals we are mocked. Vegetables, yearly deciduous, are far more sympathetic. The lilac and laburnum, making lovely now the railed pathway to Christ Church meadow, were all a-swaying and a-nodding to the Duke as he passed by. "Adieu, adieu, your Grace," they were whispering. "We are very sorry for you - very sorry indeed. We never dared suppose you would predecease us. We think your death a very great tragedy. Adieu! Perhaps we shall meet in another world - that is, if members of the animal kingdom have immortal souls, as we have."The main character is ostensibly the titular Zuleika, a mysterious and bewitching woman who has the whole student body of Oxford killing themselves out of love for her. Another aside from the narrator, of which he allows himself many, comments acerbically on this phenomenon: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. If man were not a gregarious animal, the world might have achieved, by this time, some real progress towards civilisation. Segregate him, and he is no fool. But let him loose among his fellows and he is lost - he becomes just a unit in unreason. If any one of the undergraduates had met Miss Dobson in the desert of Sahara, he would have fallen in love with her; but not one in a thousand would have wished to die because she did not love him.The treatment of Zuleika is intriguingly ambivalent. She shows a remarkable lack of remorse for the carnage she apparently caused, yet the students themselves are clearly acting very foolishly and the college fellows seem wilfully ignorant of what's happening. Given the book's original date of publication, 1911, I was tempted to read into it a macabre and prescient satire on patriotic fervour at the start of the First World War. Oxford undergraduates of three years later would after all be effectively committing suicide by trench warfare. Zuleika is perhaps a spectre representative of 'dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'. The author cannot have known that a world war would occur, of course, so this is all very retrospective. In any event, 'Zuleika Dobson' is an enjoyably weird novel, in which the best-developed character is the omniscient narrator and supernatural happenings go largely unremarked. Moreover, Zuleika really is a wonderful name for a literal femme fatale. As a dark mockery of Oxford, the aristocracy, and male pomposity in general, the book can be very funny. I did love this sort of dialogue:Down the flight of steps from Queen's came lounging an average undergraduate."Mr. Smith," said the Duke, "a word with you.""But my name is not Smith," said the young man."Generically it is," replied the Duke. "You are Smith to all intents and purposes. That, indeed, is why I address you. In making your acquaitance, I make a thousand acquaintances. You are a short cut to knowledge. Tell me, do you seriously think of drowning yourself this afternoon?""Rather," said the undergraduate."A meiosis in common use, equivalent to 'Yes, assuredly,'" murmured the Duke, "And why," he then asked, "do you mean to do this?""Why? How can you ask? Why are you going to do it?""The Socratic manner is not a game that two can play. Please answer my question to the best of your ability."It should be noted while reading the above that the Duke is also an undergraduate!

  • Charles Matthews
    2019-05-08 06:58

    My copy of Zuleika Dobson was given to me by a fellow graduate student on the occasion of our graduation. I haven't read it since then. In 1998 a panel commissioned by the Modern Library called it one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century -- No. 59 to be exact. Whether it's a better novel than The Moviegoer (60), The Catcher in the Rye (64), The House of Mirth (69), or The Adventures of Augie March (81), I can't say. In truth, I think it misleading to call Zuleika Dobson a novel. It has less in common with the books mentioned above, more or less conventionally realistic novels, than with books like Gulliver's Travels or Lewis Carroll's Alice books -- works of fiction that step out of the confines of conventional narrative realism to pursue other aims, such as satire or whimsy. Zuleika Dobson is both: a whimsical satire. It's also a parody of romantic fiction, an ironic tribute to Oxford University, and a metafictional commentary on the nature of the novel itself. Unlike the novels above, in fact unlike almost all of the other 99 novels on the list (Finnegans Wake the chief possible other exception), it is not character-driven. Zuleika and the Duke of Dorset don't propel the plot so much as they are propelled through it by the whim of the author -- or, if you wish, the gods who preside over their destinies. It is a cheerfully callous book, though not a cold-hearted one. Beerbohm has some obvious affection for his creations, or he wouldn't spend so much time with them, sorting out their various reactions to each other. The entire book is premised on an ironic refutation of Rosalind's assertion that "men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love." Ironic, because the absurdity of the mass suicide of the entire Oxford student body over love for Zuleika is manifest. But Beerbohm's irony gives the romantic fantasy its due. Like Zuleika and her grandfather, Beerbohm is rather tickled by the whole notion -- again not coldly or callously, but out of a kind of amused respect for the foolish nobility of the act. It's well, however, to note the date of the book: It was published in 1911. Three years later, the young men of England would begin dying heroically and absurdly in places like the Somme. Beerbohm's book would take on the aspect of chilling prophecy, especially in light of the Duke's comparison of the suicidal fervor of his fellow undergraduates to the jingoism that inspired Britons before the Boer War.The book is also clear-sighted in its treatment of both Oxford nostalgia and ivory-tower detachment from the real world, as in the Junta's meticulous devotion to its rituals and the dons' studious avoidance of the truth about what has happened before the "bump-dinner," despite the undergraduates' absence from the Hall. If there is one passage that sums up Beerbohm's attitude toward the university, it is this:"Oxford, that lotus-land, saps the will-power, the power of action. But, in doing so, it clarifies the mind, makes larger the vision, gives, above all, that playful and caressing suavity of manner which comes of a conviction that nothing matters, except ideas, and that not even ideas are worth dying for, inasmuch as the ghosts of them slain seem worthy of yet more piously elaborate homage than can be given to them in their heyday." It still seems strange to me to call Zuleika Dobson a novel, but if it is one, it's a novel of ideas.

  • Morena
    2019-05-20 07:54

    3.5 starsOverall I did enjoy the book. The writing is good and I thought of giving this at least 4 stars...but somehow I changed my mind, and I'm not really sure why. Although, it is a book much different from what I've read before. I also liked the references on the Greek Mythology. What's obvious is that Beerbohm has his own distinguishing style.

  • Sara
    2019-05-03 04:41

    Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson is a humorous satire, more in the vein of Oscar Wilde than Jonathan Swift. As the book proceeds from one ludicrous scenario to another, I felt less involved with the characters than with the pitiful realities that they are meant to deride. Beerbohm jabs at everything he touches, particularly the dandy and Oxford institutions, but he does it with a light and almost affectionate style. I fail to see how anyone could find the character of Zuleika charming, but I am told that I if I do not admit her to be so I am wholly unable to understand the imports of satire. I find that, in itself, a bit ironic, since one does not create such characters as Zuleika unless one holds her living model in disdain. Does one satirize people and institutions that one finds charming and pure?Not being able to find a single admirable character in the book does not prevent the marvelous enjoyment of it, however. I was able to find the equivalent of almost each of these people in modern society: the girl who is famous for being famous (think Paris Hilton) and who stirs extreme devotion in her peers without any salient cause evident; the imperious dandy who is, in his own mind, superlative to everyone around him; the lemming-like followers (were we not all cautioned by our mothers not to "jump off a cliff just because others are doing it?"); the clueless dons who are supposed to be leading the young and are in fact totally oblivious to what is going on in their minds or lives; and the man who allows social conventions and outside opinions to determine what he will or will not do with his life.While the reading is slow in some parts, the book overall has a pleasing flow that carries you along like a river to its disturbing (albeit humorous) end. That Zuleika has profited nothing from her experience is not surprising...that Cambridge may be in danger undoubtable.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-04-26 07:37

    This is a highly-entertaining farce. The humor is anything but subtle.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 later and a different culture cannot completely wipe it out. I don't know if this has been made into a movie, though it would have been a huge miss by Hollywood if not. A couple of times I thought of the old Spencer Tracy Kathryn Hepburn movies. Though not exactly the same, the relationship in this between the Duke of Dorset and Zuleika Dobson, made me think of the relationship between those actors in their movies.The exaggerated prose amplifies the humor. At the door of the first-class waiting-room, aloof and venerable, stood the Warden of Judas. An ebon pillar of tradition seemed he, in his garb of old-fashioned cleric. Aloft, between the wide brim of his silk hat and the white extent of his shirt-front, appeared those eyes which hawks, that nose which eagles, had often envied. He supported his years on an ebon stick. He alone was worthy of the background.I'm sorry this is Beerbohm's only novel, as I'm sure many readers of his time were also. But he has collections of short stories which I can look forward to.

  • Laura
    2019-05-20 02:44

    Reading online at DailyLit."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.

  • Lucy Barnhouse
    2019-05-25 01:33

    An absolute gem. I've no idea why it took me so long to read this. A send-up of academe, of classism, of romantic delusions, but with a great fondness for genuine romance, and for academic seductions. The language is ornate, effervescent, erudite, delightful; there are hilarious ghosts; there are sentient statues. I read a library copy, but plan to buy my own, to cheer my afternoons and to press upon friends who've not yet read it.

  • Catherine
    2019-05-26 08:35

    I embarked on this expecting it to be uproariously funny, along the lines of Stella Gibbons or Wodehouse and found it to be...not so much. A bit too long, with characters I longed to part company with. There are some amusing moments with the Duke, but overall, a slog.

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-04-27 03:54

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)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 labelEssay #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 actuality a whimsical magic-realism tale, written long before the term itself was officially invented. It tells the story of our eponymous heroine, a beguiling ingenue so beautiful that she can literally make even statues turn their heads, driven from her chosen profession of governess because of her youthful wards constantly falling in love with her. At the beginning of the book she has decided to visit her grandfather, the Warden (Americans, think "dean") of Judas College at Oxford University; and indeed, this is the main point of the manuscript even existing, is for Beerbohm to look back with great love at his old alma mater, with the majority of this story consisting not of narrative plot but rather funny and knowing descriptions of all the various nooks and crannies found at Oxford, and all the fanciful traditions that are maintained there (secret societies, supper clubs, choral groups) for the sake of historical continuance. In the meanwhile, then, as expected the all-male population of Oxford falls head over heels for Dobson, bringing all activity at the university to a literal halt; but one of these young men, the vain and aristocratic Duke of Dorset, initially spurns Dobson's advances, the first time in her entire life that this has ever happened, which of course makes her fall in love with him. He eventually comes around, however, and in fact falls for her so hard that he decides to commit suicide to prove his love, an idea enthusiastically adopted by the rest of the smitten student body as well; and thus does the book end in spectacularly over-the-top fashion, with the entirety of Oxford killing themselves at the exact same moment, and with Dobson hopping on a train with a wink and a smile as she starts making her way to Cambridge.The argument for it being a classic:As far as I can tell, the main argument for this being a classic is not because of the book itself (which even its fans admit is awfully slight and fairly silly), but rather to honor the memory of its author; because for those who don't know, Beerbohm was profoundly better known during his lifetime as a humorous essayist and caricature artist, the man handpicked by George Bernard Shaw to succeed him as theatre critic at the Saturday Review (and who called him "The Incomparable Max" when doing so, a moniker that stuck with him the rest of his life). Although prolific when it came to newspaper articles and reviews of plays, Zuleika Dobson turned out to be the only novel Beerbohm would ever write, and hence the only project of his to even have the possibility of standing the test of time; and that therefore is why we should still read it, his fans seem to argue, in order to keep alive the memory of this hugely popular and influential cultural arbiter, the person who shaped the Edwardian arts perhaps more than any other individual.The argument against:Unsurprisingly, this book's critics tend to use the same arguments cited above, just applied in the opposite way: that just because Beerbohm was a popular critic while alive doesn't mean we should falsely trumpet a subpar book simply to honor his memory. And subpar this book is, they argue, a flippant and overwritten fairytale relying on a style of humor that was much better done by his contemporary PG Wodehouse, and political points much better pulled off by his other contemporary EM Forster (all three of whom, incidentally, were closeted homosexuals during their own lifetimes, or at least if the rumors are to be believed*). Although good for a quick laugh, they argue, this book doesn't even come close to being a generation-spanning classic, and in fact it's kind of ridiculous that it's even being considered for the canon lists in the first place.My verdict:Today I fall firmly on the side of this book's critics; because even though I agree that Dobson is amusing in an eye-rolling way, it's hard to understand why this barely-existing wisp of a book is even being considered for classic status to begin with. And that leads me to concluding what I just mentioned, that its fans are in actuality more trying to honor Beerbohm himself than this particular volume; and while that's noble of them to do (and definitely makes me want to read his collected essays, which have also been put out in book form over the years), as a critic myself I simply cannot condone the elevating of a mediocre book to classic status simply so that its author won't be forgotten, which to me seems like the equivalent of a veteran actor receiving an Oscar for a crappy movie as a way of acknowledging the better roles they played when younger, something else in the arts I can't stand. The whole thing says a lot, I think, about the overall weakness of the "Interregnum" period of the arts in which this was published (1900 to 1920, that is, the period between the end of Romanticism and the beginning of Modernism); and although like I said this book is good for a quick Edwardian laugh, I can't in good conscience recommend it to a general audience, or declare it one of the proverbial "books you should read before you die." This should all be kept in mind before tackling it yourself.Is it a classic? No(And don't forget that the first 33 essays in this series are now available in book form!) *It's been pointed out to me that rumors regarding these three writers' sexual orientations remain specious at best: that although Forster was definitely gay, for example, a fact which became public knowledge after his death, rumors regarding Beerbohm being the same remain to this day only vague rumors, while the question might not even be applicable in the case of Wodehouse, in that most believe he was rendered impotent as a teen by a serious illness. I think this is a fair thing to point out, which is why I'll be removing the entire sentence altogether when it comes time for the book version of these essays.

  • Jim
    2019-05-06 03:46

    How is it possible to regard a work about the mass suicide of Oxford undergraduates -- all for unrequited love of a decorous young woman -- as a comedy? Yet Max Beerbohm has done it with The Illustrated Zuleika Dobson. Miss Zuleika Dobson, the granddaughter of the Warden of Judas College at Oxford [sic], turns the heads of all the young males at Oxford, most particularly that of the young Duke of Dorset, the leader of his college. Zuleika is one of those females who cannot approve of any male who is in love with her, and it seems that all of them are. If she thinks they are not in love with her -- an occurrence that never really occurs except by mistake -- she falls in love with them, or thinks she does. For a good half of the novel, we know that the Duke plans to jump into the river, and that most of the undergraduates are of his mind. How is it possible that Beerborhm can hold our attention?The answer is by his witty style, of a sort that has never been used before for such an unpromising plot. Here Zuleika reviles Noaks, the one surviving undergraduate, who she had thought did not love her and therefore that she loved him:As for you, Sir Lily Liver, leaning out there, and, I frankly tell you, looking like nothing so much as a gargoyle hewn by a drunken stone-mason for the adornment of a Methodist Chapel in one of the vilest suburbs of Leeds or Wigan, I do but felicitate the river-god and his nymphs that their water was saved to-day by your cowardice from the contamination of your plunge.And this is only the first part of Lord Dorset's introduction of himself to the same Zuleika Dobson:Love, however, is greater than pride; and I, John, Albert, Edward, Clause, Orde, Angus, Tankerton [pronounced as Tacton], Tanville-Tankerton [pronounced as Tavvle-Tacton], fourteenth Duke of Dorset, Marquis of Dorset, Earl of Grove, Earl of Chastermaine, Viscount Brewsby, Baron Grove, Baron Petstrap, and Baron Wolock, in the Peerage of England, offer you my hand.He sounds as if he takes up half the index of Debrett's Peerage, if it has an index.Never before has such a jape been carried so far. But I kept reading because of my encounter with a real life in the flesh Zuleika. Fortunately, I did not drown myself for unrequited love -- but I spent almost ten years courting her. (Better I would have drowned myself than married her!)

  • Cherie
    2019-05-21 06:53

    This is satire. It has to be. I just thought it sounded like an interesting story and I needed a book title that started with Z for a challenge I was participating in. I had come across the author’s name and mention of the book title in an editorial I had read somewhere and added it to my TBR list. I had even looked at a portion of the copy (I realized it later, when I got to that place in the story.) The author claims, in 1946, that it was not written as a satire. He said he had written it as a fantasy. Okay, but it is more. I thought it was going to be a love story at the beginning. It is and more. A beautiful girl and a Duke scholar meet. The conversations between the two are not to be missed! What happens is not to be believed. I still can’t get over it.There is so much going on in this book. Keep in mind that it was first published in 1911. The language is not hard to read, but there are lots of old style words (that I had to look up). Great words! There is a kind of history lesson going on about Oxford and University life and bits about the Greek Gods. I found it all fascinating.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-26 03:29

    While reading this book, I kept thinking of two quotes from the 20th century -- first, Andy Warhol's famous declaration that "In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes," and conceptual artist Jenny Holzer's observation from one of her text-based projects: "Dying for love is beautiful but stupid." 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 sometimes famous for nothing at all, really -- who are followed obsessively by their fans, Zuleika Dobson no longer seems all that shocking. I found myself thinking as I read, "Hmmm, well, this really anticipated modern culture," but I wasn't surprised at all. Modern culture is already so farcical that it has outstripped our ability to mock it via farce. (I wonder if readers in 1911 felt the same way. But I can't know.)Also, the abrupt change in point of view midway through the book grinds the whole thing to a halt. I'm glad I read it, but only because I can check it off a list of "great 20th century novels I've read." I wish I'd enjoyed it more.

  • Renee M
    2019-05-21 09:33

    Very funny. Very dark. I do so enjoy the satirical, cynical, witty wonderful voices of the Edwardians. Oscar Wilde and Saki have long been my favorites, so I was, at least in part, prepared for the full-on, no hold barred, over the top, overwritten hilarity that is Zuleika Dobson. Definitely a book which could only have been written/published before the Great Wars, in that twilight when such devastation seemed beyond reality or relegated to the long past. I'm sure that much of the Oxford/British specific humor went over my head, but still there was plenty to enjoy. Although I read along, my primary source was the Librivox version, read by Termin Dyan, who brought the story brilliantly to life with his exceptional performance.

  • Elli (The Bibliophile)
    2019-05-17 09:57

    I thought this was an interesting novel! Quite funny and absurd at times, and the ending was actually pretty shocking-in a good way! I would say this is more of a 3.5/5 star read however. Though the writing was good, I found the novel dragged on a bit even though it was only around 250 pages long.

  • Kim
    2019-05-02 06:43

    Zuleika Dobson, full title Zuleika Dobson, or, an Oxford love story, is a 1911 novel by Max Beerbohm. This has got to be one of the strangest books I have ever read. It is so "different" that even though it has been weeks since I finished it I still remember it quite well, that doesn't happen often. According to Wikipedia:"Sir Henry Maximilian "Max" Beerbohm (24 August 1872 – 20 May 1956) was an English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist. He first became known in the 1890s as a dandy and a humorist. He was the drama critic for the Saturday Review from 1898 until 1910, when he relocated to Rapallo, Italy. In his later years he was popular for his occasional radio broadcasts. Among his best-known works is his only novel, Zuleika Dobson, published in 1911. His caricatures, drawn usually in pen or pencil with muted watercolour tinting, are in many public collections."I spend a lot of time looking things up. Between looking up one thing or another for my group and looking up one thing or another usually about Christmas for myself, as I said, I spend a lot of time looking things up. So as soon as I read that he drew caricatures I knew I would have to go look them up when I finished this. But I just couldn't wait so I went and looked and found this:"The Theft" depicts him stealing a book from the library in 1894. "The Restitution" shows him returning that book in 1920.And now on to the book. We begin with a note from the author who seemed upset that the readers were pronouncing Zuleika's name wrong. I am probably pronouncing Zuleika's name wrong, if he wanted me to be able to pronounce it he should have named his main character Jean, or Linda, or Mary Lou. Here is his note: NOTE to the 1922 edition I was in Italy when this book was first published. A year later (1912) I visited London, and I found that most of my friends and acquaintances spoke to me of Zu-like-a--a name which I hardly recognised and thoroughly disapproved. I had always thought of the lady as Zu-leek-a. Surely it was thus that Joseph thought of his Wife, and Selim of his Bride? And I do hope that it is thus that any reader of these pages will think of Miss Dobson. M.B. Rapallo, 1922.The story begins with a train arriving at the Oxford Station. Lots of undergraduates are waiting on the platform,although what they are waiting for I can't remember. It isn't important what they are doing there, what is important is the arrival of Zuleika. Zuleika is coming to Oxford because her grandfather is the Warden of Judas College. Ok, the train is just pulling into the station and we have this:"Into the station it came blustering, with cloud and clangour. Ere it had yet stopped, the door of one carriage flew open, and from it, in a white travelling dress, in a toque a-twinkle with fine diamonds, a lithe and radiant creature slipped nimbly down to the platform.A cynosure indeed! A hundred eyes were fixed on her, and half as many hearts lost to her. The Warden of Judas himself had mounted on his nose a pair of black-rimmed glasses. Him espying, the nymph darted in his direction. The throng made way for her. She was at his side............. All the youths, under her spell, were now quite oblivious of the relatives they had come to meet. Parents, sisters, cousins, ran unclaimed about the platform. Undutiful, all the youths were forming a serried suite to their enchantress. In silence they followed her. They saw her leap into the Warden's landau, they saw the Warden seat himself upon her left. Nor was it until the landau was lost to sight that they turned--how slowly, and with how bad a grace!--to look for their relatives."And there is our introduction to Zuleika, if she was here now I would be too fascinated to finish this and you would be too amazed to read it. How do I know this? Because of reading the book. Each and every person is under her spell. Zuleika's parents had died when she was in her teens and she had become first an orphan and then a governess. Her grandfather had wanted nothing to do with her because he didn't want burdened with the child of a marriage he had forbidden. Now that Zuleika has become famous he was curious enough to invite her for a visit and since she had a few weeks between engagements she agreed. As for what she is famous for I'm getting there.Being a governess she had hated and felt she had been forced back into school attempting again to learn the sums and maps and such things she had never picked up during her first years in school. She hated her work and was often driven from the house - a sullen and ineffetual teacher. She also rain into trouble because of her beauty""Was there a grown-up son, always he fell in love with her, and she would let his eyes trifle boldly with hers across the dinner-table. When he offered her his hand, she would refuse it--not because she "knew her place," but because she did not love him. Even had she been a good teacher, her presence could not have been tolerated thereafter. Her corded trunk, heavier by another packet of billets-doux and a month's salary in advance, was soon carried up the stairs of some other house."Ok, now I'm at the famous part, unusual, but famous. Eventually she came to be governess in a large family, Edward was the eldest son and worked as a clerk. In the evenings he spent his time practicing "amateur conjuring". It sounded like being a magician to me. He fell in love with Zuleika (of course), at first sight. Edward spent the rest of the evening performing all his tricks for her. Zuleika wasn't used to any gaieties was fascinated at the young man's: "sleight of hand, marvelling that a top-hat could hold so many goldfish and a handkerchief turn so swiftly into a silver florin."The next day for reasons I'm not sure, I guess to impress her more, he didn't perform the tricks for her, but he taught her how to perform them herself.His eyes sought hers across the bowl of gold-fish, his fingers trembled as he taught her to manipulate the magic canister. One by one, she mastered the paltry secrets. Her respect for him waned with every revelation. He complimented her on her skill. "I could not do it more neatly myself!" he said. "Oh, dear Miss Dobson, will you but accept my hand, all these things shall be yours--the cards, the canister, the goldfish, the demon egg-cup--all yours!" Zuleika, with ravishing coyness, answered that if he would give her them now, she would "think it over."And now that she has all the tricks in her hands will she marry the young Edward? On the contrary:"Stealthily, so soon as the house slumbered, she packed her small outfit, embedding therein the precious gift. Noiselessly, she shut the lid of her trunk, corded it, shouldered it, stole down the stairs with it. Outside--how that chain had grated! and her shoulder, how it was aching!--she soon found a cab. She took a night's sanctuary in some railway-hotel. Next day, she moved into a small room in a lodging-house off the Edgware Road, and there for a whole week she was sedulous in the practice of her tricks. Then she inscribed her name on the books of a "Juvenile Party Entertainments Agency."And now the children at the parties where she would be performing loved her, the hostesses of the parties were "charmed", and more engagements kept coming. She loved her work as a means of displaying herself. She becomes more and more known, young men stare, sometimes follow her as she walks through the streets, the engagements keep coming and finally, she is famous. "Already, indeed, she was rich. She was living at the most exorbitant hotel in all Mayfair. She had innumerable gowns and no necessity to buy jewels; and she also had, which pleased her most, the fine cheval-glass I have described. At the close of the Season, Paris claimed her for a month's engagement. Paris saw her and was prostrate. Boldini did a portrait of her. Jules Bloch wrote a song about her; and this, for a whole month, was howled up and down the cobbled alleys of Montmartre. And all the little dandies were mad for "la Zuleika." The jewellers of the Rue de la Paix soon had nothing left to put in their windows--everything had been bought for "la Zuleika."But for now she is visiting with her grandfather at Oxford, there are lots of young men to admire her there. She has never been in love, but she desired it, the problem was she never met a man she would consider giving her heart to. All she saw in her travels were youths falling down before her and she wanted a man who wouldn't be fascinated with her, one who could resist her charms. And she thinks she finally finds him at her grandfather's home. "The young lady whom you may have noticed with me," the Warden was saying, "is my orphaned grand-daughter." (The wife of the Oriel don discarded her smile, and sighed, with a glance at the Duke, who was himself an orphan.) "She has come to stay with me." (The Duke glanced quickly round the room.) "I cannot think why she is not down yet." (The Oriel don fixed his eyes on the clock, as though he suspected it of being fast.) "I must ask you to forgive her. She appears to be a bright, pleasant young woman.""Married?" asked the Duke."No," said the Warden; and a cloud of annoyance crossed the boy's face."No; she devotes her life entirely to good works.""A hospital nurse?" the Duke murmured."No, Zuleika's appointed task is to induce delightful wonder rather thanto alleviate pain. She performs conjuring-tricks.""Not--not Miss Zuleika Dobson?" cried the Duke."Ah yes. I forgot that she had achieved some fame in the outer world.Perhaps she has already met you?""Never," said the young man coldly. "But of course I have heard of MissDobson. I did not know she was related to you."The Duke had an intense horror of unmarried girls. All his vacations were spent in eluding them and their chaperons. That he should be confronted with one of them--with such an one of them!--in Oxford, seemed to him sheer violation of sanctuary. The tone, therefore, in which he said "I shall be charmed," in answer to the Warden's request that he would take Zuleika into dinner, was very glacial. So was his gaze when, a moment later, the young lady made her entry."When the Duke totally ignores her talking to other people the entire time they are at dinner she knows it has happened, she has found the man she could love. Unfortunately, even though the Duke barely looks at her, he also falls in love, which isn't a good thing for either of them. Or for any other young man in the college. I feel like I've been talking about this book much longer than I planned to, so I will leave the rest of the story for you to find out for yourselves. You will have more magic shows to read about and a lot of talk about suicide, since that seems to become the brilliant idea of how to show your love for Zuleika. Whether anyone is dumb enough to go along with this thinking I'll let you find out for yourselves. I certainly did not hate the book, but I wouldn't read it again, I realized a few weeks ago that I have many, many books on my re-read list that I am never going to read again, if for no other reason than I can't imagine I will live long enough to read both new books (new to me) and already read books over again. This got me going through my books and setting the ones I know I won't read again to the side to be given away. Zuleika is on that pile. Happy reading.