The Prisoner of Zenda (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780198841098

Anthony Hope; Nicholas Daly
208 Pages
126 x 191 mm
Pub date
Feb 2020
Oxford World's Classics
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  • A new edition of the novel that originated the genre of 'Ruritanian romances' which inspired the likes of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Dorothy L. Sayers
  • A key work of the late Victorian 'revival of romance'
  • An authoritative and accessible introduction by Nicholas Daly that situates the novel in literary history, and traces its long afterlife in popular culture
  • Using a text based on the first edition, published by Arrowsmith in 1894
  • Contains a chronology of Anthony Hope and of the novel's adaptations for stage and screen

New to this Edition:

  • New introduction and explanatory notes by Nicholas Daly.

'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.


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Anthony Hope
The Prisoner of Zenda
Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Anthony Hope
Edited by Nicholas Daly, Professor of Modern English and American Literature, at University College Dublin
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 Siècle (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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