Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: "Z"

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, just visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

Well, here we are with one more trip through the alphabet completed. This week's letter is "Z." So I went to my shelves, and this is what I pulled out.

Zuleika Dobson
Written by Max Beerbohm
First published 1911

Description from Good Reads:
Max Beerbohm's sparklingly wicked satire concerns the unlikely events that occur when a femme fatale briefly enters the supremely privileged, all-male domain of Judas College, Oxford. A conjurer by profession, Zuleika Dobson can only love a man who is impervious to her considerable charms: a circumstance that proves fatal, as any number of love-smitten suitors are driven to suicide by the damsel's rejection. Laced with memorable one-liners ('Death cancels all engagements,' utters the first casualty) and inspired throughout by Beerbohm's rococo imagination, this lyrical evocation of Edwardian undergraduate life at Oxford has...a beauty unattainable by serious literature.
See the book's page at Wikipedia here.

See the book's text at Project Gutenberg here.

My Thoughts:

Beerbohm's classic satire (and his only novel), the story of the impossibly desirable Zuleika who drives all the undergraduates at all the colleges in Oxford to drown themselves for love of her, is not for everyone. I read it many years ago, and loved it at the time. Not sure I'd be quite so enthusiastic about it if I reread it today. But if you can manage to put up with the extremely arch humor, the book does have some very funny moments. Zuleika is something of a monster, but a sweet and comic monster; and the story paints a very interesting picture of Edwardian Oxford.

You can also expand your vocabulary, reading Beerbohm. Just giving the book a quick glance, I found several words I probably had to look up when I read it the first time (chevelure, gallimaufry, chrysoprases, dubiety). And now I'll have to look them up again.


  1. The cover reminds me of P G Wodehouse books!


  2. Definitely not my thing, but I would still read it and try to change my own mind.

  3. I may have to give this one a try- I need a Z book eventually anyway.

  4. Great choice!! I love seeing posts of books I've never seen before!

    Thanks for playing!


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