Zuleika Dobson: Or, An Oxford Love Story (The Neversink by Max Beerbohm

By Max Beerbohm

Sir Henry Maximilian “Max” Beerbohm used to be, like his good friend Oscar Wilde, such an acclaimed wit (and essayist, caricaturist, and parodist) that George Bernard Shaw dubbed him “the incomparable Max.” yet Beerbohm’s comedian masterpiece Zuleika Dobson—one of the fashionable Library’s most sensible a hundred English-language novels of the 20 th century—is the single novel he ever wrote.

Strangely out of print within the usa for years, this crackling farce is still as piercing and clean as whilst it first seemed in 1911: a hilarious dismantling of academia and privilege, and a swashbuckling lampooning of sophistication platforms and notions of masculine virtue.

The all-male campus of Oxford—Beerbohm’s alma mater—is a spot the place aesthetics holds sway especially else, and the place witty intellectuals reign. issues haven’t replaced for its privileged scholar physique for years . . . until eventually the beguiling music-hall prestidigitator Zuleika Dobson indicates up.

The book’s fabulous prose dances alongside the road among fact and the absurd as scholars and dons alike fall at Zuleika’s toes, and she or he cuts a large swath around the campus—until she encounters one younger aristocrat for whom she is astonished to discover she has feelings.

As Zuleika, and her writer, 0 in on their objectives, the publication takes a few unbelievable and darkish twists on its method to a really startling ending—an finishing so outstanding that readers will comprehend why Virginia Woolf acknowledged that “Mr. Beerbohm in his method is perfect.”

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Extra resources for Zuleika Dobson: Or, An Oxford Love Story (The Neversink Library)

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Susie Orbach, Fat is a Feminist Issue It has always appeared to me to be one of the greatest existing absurdities, that a whole community of people, differing in complexion, form, and feature, as widely as the same species can differ, should . . desire to wear precisely the same kind of dress. Sarah Stickney Ellis, Daughters of England  The remarkable similarity between Orbach’s and Ellis’s observations indicates that the wish to adapt to one predominant standard of beauty bridges nineteenth- and twentieth-century women’s experiences, and that contemporary complaints about the tyranny of slenderness have antecedents in the Victorian era.

Faces a very severe sanction indeed in a world dominated by men: the refusal of male patronage.  It is my hope that critics, by acknowledging this more complex view of the workings of power, will eventually put to rest the tiresome criticism that there exists no conspiracy to make women thin: of course there does not. Power is far too dispersed and anonymous for there to be any such organized plan; nevertheless, power relations as they stand in the twentieth century do make women suffer. Finally, in my conclusion, I draw similarities between Victorian and contemporary cultures, arguing that our own attitudes toward the body have changed remarkably little in the past century, and speculating about the kind of political work that literary and cultural criticism can accomplish in the effort to curtain anorexia nervosa as a pathology and as a paradigm of femininity.

The writer, who equates tight lacing with self-immolation and pagan sacrificial rites, implies that the practice of tight lacing is not only dangerous but immoral, perhaps because tight lacing drew attention to a woman’s erotic beauty. ” This intensification of anti-lacing rhetoric at first suggests an escalation of the practice, but the fashion for enormous skirts during the s actually renders such a hypothesis unlikely. The sensationalizing of critics’ language suggests, instead, that opponents may have been writing against an increasing acceptance of tight lacing.

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