The Prisoner of Zenda

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Oxford University Press, Feb 20, 2020 - Fiction - 208 pages
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'If love were the only thing, I would follow you-in rags if need be ... But is love the only thing?'

Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda is a swashbuckling adventure set in Ruritania, a mythical pocket kingdom. Englishman Rudolf Rassendyll closely resembles the King of Ruritania, and to foil a coup by his rival to the throne, he is persuaded to impersonate him for a day. However, Rassendyll's role becomes more complicated when the real king is kidnapped, and he falls for the lovely Princess Flavia. Although the story is set in the near past, Ruritania is a semi-feudal land in which a strong sword arm can carry the day, and Rassendyll and his allies fight to rescue the king. But if he succeeds, our hero and Flavia will have to choose between love and honour.

As Nicholas Daly's introduction outlines, this thrilling tale inspired not only stage and screen adaptations, but also place names, and even a popular board game. A whole new subgenre of 'Ruritanian romances' followed, though no imitation managed to capture the charm, exuberance, and sheer storytelling power of Hope's classic tale.


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CHAPTER I The rassendylls with a word onthe elphbergs
CHAPTER II Concerning the colour of mens hair
CHAPTER III A merry evening with a distant relative
CHAPTER IV The king keeps his appointment
CHAPTER V The adventures of an understudy
CHAPTER VI The Secret of a Cellar
CHAPTER VII His Majesty Sleeps in Strelsau
CHAPTER VIII A Fair Cousin and a Da rk Brother
CHAPTER XIII An improvement on jacobs ladder
CHAPTER XIV A night outside the castle
CHAPTER XV I talk with a tempter
CHAPTER XVI A desperate plan
CHAPTER XVII Young ruperts midnight diversions
CHAPTER XVIII The forcing of the trap
CHAPTER XIX Face to face in the forest
CHAPTER XX The prisoner and the king

CHAPTER IX A New use for a TeaTable
CHAPTER X A great chance for a villain
CHAPTER XI Hunting a very big boar
CHAPTER XII I receive a visitor and bait a hook
CHAPTER XXI If love were all
CHAPTER XXII Present pastand future?

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About the author (2020)

Anthony Hope

Nicholas Daly is Professor of Modern English and American Literature at University College Dublin. He has also taught at Trinity College Dublin, Wesleyan University, and Dartmouth College. A member of the Royal Irish Academy, he serves on the advisory boards of the Journal of Victorian Culture, Novel, and the Irish University Review. His academic publications include the monographs Modernism, Romance, and the Fin de Siecle (CUP, 1999), Literature, Technology and Modernity (CUP, 2004), Sensation and Modernity in the 1860s (CUP, 2009), and The Demographic Imagination (CUP, 2015), and many articles on nineteenth and twentieth-century literature and culture. He has also recently edited Emma Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel for the Oxford World's Classics.

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