The prisoner of Zenda

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The second edition of The Prisoner of Zenda

The Prisoner of Zenda , English original title The Prisoner of Zenda , is an adventure novel published in 1894 by the British author Anthony Hope . The novel was a bestseller, not only in Great Britain, but also in the rest of Europe and the United States, and founded the later very popular genre of “ ruritan romance ”. In 1898 Hope published a sequel under the title Rupert von Hentzau .


Rudolf Rassendyll, a curious young Englishman, travels to the fictional country of Ruritania (which is roughly in Moravia ) to see the king's coronation there. Rassendyll looks very much like the king - due to an affair with one of the king's ancestors. This leads to a series of mix-ups and ultimately to the rescue of the king in a conspiracy.

Film adaptations

The film Royal Flash (1975) has a similar plot, and the film The Great Race Around the World (1965) parodies the story of Hope in the episode in Carpania.


  • The Prisoner of Zenda . JW Arrowsmith, Bristol 1894 (first edition).
  • The Prisoner of Zenda . With an introduction by Geoffrey Household . Dent, London 1984, ISBN 0460022725 .
  • The Prisoner of Zenda . Edited and introduced by Tony Watkins. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York 1994, ISBN 978-0-19-955528-4 .
  • The Prisoner of Zenda: Romantic Tale . German by Clarence Sherwood. German publishing company, Stuttgart 1898.
  • The prisoner of Zenda . German by Ronald M. Hahn . Ullstein, Berlin 1987. ISBN 3-548-21067-8 .

Secondary literature

  • Jopi Nyman: Under English Eyes: Constructions of Europe in Early Twentieth-Century British Fiction . Rodopi, Amsterdam 2000, ISBN 9042015721 .
  • S. Gorley Putt: The Prisoner of 'The Prisoner of Zenda': Anthony Hope and the Novel of Society . In: Essays in Criticism 6, 1956, pp. 38-59.
  • Raymond P. Wallace: Cardboard Kingdoms . In: San Jose Studies 13, 1987, pp. 23-34.