The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

August 24, 2013

August 24, 1872

Max Beerbohm (August 24, 1872 to May 20, 1956), the English comic writer and caricaturist, in his 1911 novel Zuleika Dobson, provides a glimpse "through the railings, and across the road, ...[of]  a skimpy and dingy cat, trying to look like a tiger." The eponymous heroine of this story is a femme so fatale that an entire undergraduate class at Oxford kill themselves out of love for her, and are subsequently not much missed by anyone. The humor involves a special sociology of the English heart and Oxford University, a topic that requires some context to appreciate.

Here is a Beerbohm cartoon unrelated to anything else in this post.

Beerbohm wrote to Lytton Strachey, and the humor is more apparent:

The kitten of whom I told you last year is now a confirmed cat....He is...vigorous and vagrant but not I am sorry to say, either affectionate or intelligent....
[H]e dislikes rain but has no knowledge of how to avoid it if it falls...

The humor survives because cats have not changed since Edwardian England.

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