Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson (1911)

Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson (1911)

This post is my opportunity to tell you about a good book and an even better resource. First, I recently finished reading a Minerva Press edition of Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson. First published in 1911, the novel is a femme fatale comedy where the Warden’s niece comes to Oxford during the school year and causes mayhem when all of the undergraduates fall in love with her. Beerbohm wrote the novel with the characteristic wit of his essays (I also recommend “Defence of Cosmetics” from Volume I of the Yellow Book, 1894). Beerbohm’s work engages with the culture of aestheticism and the aesthetes and his portrayal of the Duke is an interesting route for Beerbohm’s satire.

A word of warning, while Beerbohm’s humour is neatly summarized here, there is little else to say about the novel. I found that by the time I was 100 pages in, the humour lost some of its charm. Without giving too much away, the suicidal climax of the novel is an astounding work of comedy but one that fell flat, at least for me, in the dénouement.

I think that the novel deserves more attention than I’m giving it here and that’s why I’m sharing my experience of reading the book. It reminded me of Richard Le Gallienne’s Quest for the Golden Girl (1896) only without the picaresque journey that makes the Quest so delightful.

Every book I talk about on this site is one that I recommend that people read. I don’t believe that my opinion is the only opinion. So if you disagree with me, tell me why in the comments below.

On another note, the online edition that I have linked to is a link to openlibrary.org that I found on the Internet Archive (www.archive.org). Now if you are not yet aware of the Internet Archive I highly recommend you check on the link on my blog. This is a wonderful resource for digitally archived books from a variety of historical periods including the Victorian and Edwardian Ages. The Yellow Book, The Savoy, most of the books in the Bodley Head’s Keynotes Series and many other works can be found on this page. Have some fun exploring or consider reading an online version of that hard to find book you’ve been looking for. Perhaps you can start with Zuleika Dobson?

Welcome to Victorian and Edwardian!

Welcome to victorianandedwardian! This is a place where I will share my journey as I study Victorian and Edwardian literature and culture. I live to learn and I want to share my love of learning with others. I envision this as a place where I can share online resources I’ve discovered, new books and editions of old books, film adaptations, and others experiences that I have related to my study of the Victorians and Edwardians.

Victorianandedwardian.wordpress.com will be a place to link to other great sites of interest to both scholars who want to share links to important journals, conference information, new editions (both in print and online), and useful sites that have help us in our various projects.

This is also a place to share my nerd-love for film and television adaptations, Neo-Victorian and steampunk literature and culture, and the repetition of Victorian ideology in the contemporary world.

Finally, I’d love to hear from you. I don’t want to talk at you; instead, I want to talk with you. Tell me about your favourite books, favourite resources, favourite BBC miniseries. If you have a related blog or website, tell me about it and maybe we can link each other. This is a non-profit blog. I have no sponsors and any ads you see profit only wordpress. If I’m promoting a business (ex. a publisher), it is because I really like their books. That’s it. So share with me. Perhaps this can become a resource for more of us. If nothing else, this page will make my life a little easier. I hope that it will be of some use to you.

 

I will be working on adding links and information in the next few months. Be patient with me. I have never done this before so be gentle and constructive in your criticism. Like I said – I’m learning and it’s a life long process.