July 16th, 2009

Nina Delano, aka “the Perfect Houseguest” brings Zuleika Dobson to Ladyflash


On Friday July 11,  accompanied by a Mr. John Wise Flournoy, one Miss Catherine “Nina” Delano appeared at my doorstep, brandishing the most excellent hostess gift I have ever received. A beautiful, hard-bound, 1960 NY Heritage Press edition, complete with heavy-weight  pages,  classical design, & fun, whimsical illustrations; a book of which I had never heard in my life, called, mysteriously…ZULEIKA DOBSON. This curious story was apparently written in 1911 by Max Beerbohm, satirizing undergraduate life at Oxford University.
…Zuleika Dobson is a stunningly attractive young woman, a true femme fatale, and a conjurer by profession, who manages to gain entrance to the privileged, all-male domain of Oxford University , where she entices the undergraduates with her manner and looks; however, as she feels that she cannot love anyone unless he is impervious to her charms, she rejects her suitors and they are driven to suicide.
This satire includes such wonderful lines as “Death cancels all engagements” and presents a wickedly funny view of Edwardian Oxford. {from wikipedia}
A little background on Miss Delano,  who so brilliantly bestowed this book upon me. She is my new favorite character, and very intriguing, in that she found her way from Greenwich, Ct down to Houston, Tx  with a detour through prep school in MA and university in Maine. She is  perfectly pedigreed, speaks French, (of course), is naturally beautiful with little to no makeup, wonderfully sporting, engages in lots of tennis, backgammon, squash and other waspy sports, and knows lots of families with names like Negley, Belliveau, and Churchill. Only someone like Nina Delano would bring me such a fabulous, totally obscure, classic book of this variety.  Even with a long history of wonderfully eccentric, itinerant houseguests, 1311 9 1/2 Street has never seen an offering so perfectly matched to the lady of the house. I look forward to our future “sporting”adventures together…Miss Delano could serve well as one of the characters for a new show I’m conjuring up… shhh.
Overview of the Heritage Press:
This is a Heritage Press book. As such, it is a class by itself. For 37 years the Heritage Press has been producing fine editions like this one. Every book selected by our editors is a classic in its field, chosen from the world’s best-known and most enduring literature.
Once a title is chosen, we employ the most creative designer, artists, typographers, printers and binders, who combine their talents to produce our fine editions. We believe that the resulting volumes are the only books of their quality available at their price level in the market today.
These collector’s volumes, beautifully slipcased, are priced no higher than the ordinary current work of fiction or non-fiction. By investing in them, you have not only benefited your own library but have also created a “reading trust” for generations to come.