Saturday, November 28, 2015

Zuleika Dobson

Zuleika Dobson, by Max Beerbohm


I really didn't know what to expect from Zuleika Dobson, except that I had heard it was witty.  The cover of the edition I checked out at work (see below) is so hideous that you would never know it's a comedy, would you?  I found you a nicer cover too.  I'm pretty sure my copy qualifies as one of the ugliest book covers ever produced.  If you can top this, I'll buy you lunch.

Zuleika--who makes her living by conjuring--arrives in Oxford to visit her grandfather, the Warden of Judas College.  She is so charming and bewitching that every young man who sees her promptly falls in love with her.  She is used to this and takes it as her due, but she can never fall in love with anyone who throws himself at her feet so easily.  When the impeccable dandy the Duke of Dorset actually ignores her for an entire dinner, she falls in love for the first time--only to fall out again when he confesses that he also loves her.  In despair, the Duke vows to kill himself for Zuleika, and to his dismay, every student in Oxford thinks that's a splendid idea and decides to do it too!

This is a very fun Edwardian satirical read.  I'm glad I found it.

My cover appears to feature a vaguely 18th-century girl holding an ugly flower, a blindfolded guy flying, and...possibly a frog, but also possibly just another brown blotch.







3 comments:

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

Hideous cover. Signet went through a bad phase.

How sad, though, to think that not so long ago Max Beerbohm could be sold as a mass market book.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I always forget that Max Beerbohm wrote fiction as well as drawing pictures. I do always think of him in terms of caricatures!

Jean said...

Well, this IS a caricature--just in words!