"But mainly she loved her work as a means of mere self-display "
Mrs. Patrick Campbell
Public DomainMrs. Patrick Campbell

Psychologists might speculate that Zuleika’s need to be adored by many was born from her early deprivation of parental love, but Beerbohm is not writing the novel as a serious psychological study, so the motivation of Zuleika’s need is not extensively explored or explained.


Interestingly, although Beerbohm satirizes aspects of polite society in this novel, he does not extensively explore or explain the precarious position of a female thespian in Edwardian England. Such a woman might be received in some circles of society, as was the case with actresses like Mrs. Patrick Campbell (1865-1940), but the profession was generally considered close to prostitution. Thus, female stage performers had limited respectability, although they sometimes lived seemingly glamorous lives.