William Heinemann, 1911
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Zuleika Dobson is a stunningly attractive young woman of the Edwardian era, a true femme fatale, who is a prestidigitator by profession, formerly a governess. Zuleika's current occupation (though, more importantly, perhaps, her enrapturing beauty) has made her something of a small-time celebrity and she manages to gain entrance to the privileged, all-male domain of Oxford University because her grandfather is the Warden of Judas College (based on Merton College, Beerbohm's alma mater). There, she falls in love for the first time in her life with the Duke of Dorset, a snobbish, emotionally detached student who--frustrated with the lack of control over his feelings when he sees her--is forced to admit that she too is his first love, impulsively proposing to her. As she feels that she cannot love anyone unless he is impervious to her charms, however, she rejects all her suitors, doing the same with the astonished Duke. The Duke quickly discovers that Noaks, another Oxford student, also claims to have fallen in love with her, without ever having even interacted with her. Apparently, men immediately fall in love with her upon seeing her.
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