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Trilby by George Du Maurier

Trilby (1894)

by George du Maurier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
689821,354 (3.16)41
'You shall see nothing, hear nothing, think of nothing but Svengali, Svengali, Svengali!'First published in 1894, the story of the diva Trilby O'Ferrall and her mesmeric mentor, Svengali, has entered the mythology of the time alongside Dracula and Sherlock Holmes.Immensely popular for a number of years, the novel led to a hit play, a series of popular films, and the trilby hat. The setting of the story reflects the author's bohemian years as an art student in Paris; indeed James McNeill Whistler was to recognize himself in one of the early serializedinstalments. George Du Maurier was a celebrated caricaturist for Punch magazine and his drawings for the novel form part of its appeal - this edition includes his most significant illustrations.… (more)

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» See also 41 mentions

English (7)  German (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I read this because it is mentioned in Tender is the Night Published in 1894, it drags on and I did not enjoy it past the first 100 pages. I skimmed the last 20. Might appeal to those interested in period pieces and the restrictive nature of social class in 1800's UK/Paris ( )
  StevenJohnTait | Jul 29, 2019 |
Most of the book is enjoyable; however, I did have a couple of issues with it. My first issue is that there is a lot of French dialogue with no English translation (at least not in my edition). My second is that there were times when the story lagged a little. Overall, it was a great novel and a fun trip into Bohemian Paris. ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
George du Maurier
Osgood McIlvaine, London 1895
January 23, 2017
At one of our music sessions I had mentioned Svengali, and Sidney, knew the book and that it was the rage in the early part of the 20th century. I acquired a fine copy of a signed first edition (quarter leather), for about $200), but read this on the airplane to Taiwan as a Kindle edition. The book originally appeared as a magazine serial, and in parts one can sense du Maurier filling out the word count with his philosophizing and asides. Trilby is a girl of humble origins, working as a painter's model, who befriends three Englishman who are living in the Latin Quarter in Paris learning to paint. "Little Billee", the youngest, falls in love with her, but is prevented from marrying her by his mother, who thought she was not a lady. She runs away to avoid Billee, and falls under Svengali's spell. When hypnotized she could sing beautifully, but when Svengali dies she sickens, and dies by the end of the book, as does Billee from heartbreak. Taffy and the Laird are the other friends, who witness all the tragedy, along with Gecko, Svengali's violin protege, Dodor and Zouzou, two French dragoons carousing in the Latin quarter, and other memorable characters. The book is illustrated by du Maurier with pen and ink drawings. ( )
2 vote neurodrew | Feb 7, 2017 |
A very interesting and genre-bending novel about the artists' model Trilby O'Farrell, the three British artists who befriend her in 1860s Paris, and the devious musician-magician, Svengali. It is kind of a mystery and kind of a romantic melodrama, but doesn't really fit into either category. There are some funny and charming set-pieces of artistic life in the Latin Quarter, especially in the first half of the book.

What I found most interesting about the novel was its interest in the interweaving of the arts and our perception of them--painting, music, poetry, literature are all important to the story, and Du Maurier describes them in quite strikingly vivid terms. The interest in phenomenology fits in with the novel's main plot point, dealing with mesmerism and extrasensory perception. The focus on the arts and their unity seems a great exemplar of the ideas of the aesthetic movement--even if Du Maurier pokes fun at the most egregious pretensions of certain forms of aestheticism.

Half a star off for the anti-Semitism, which is much worse than the obligatory anti-Semitism of the typical Victorian novel (for instance, Svengali, "being an Oriental Israelite Hebrew Jew, had not been able to resist the temptation of spitting in [the hero's] face.") ( )
2 vote sansmerci | May 25, 2013 |
Lorsqu'il paraît en 1894, Trilby devient un best-seller, à la grande surprise de l'auteur, George Du Maurier, le grand-père de Daphné, et de son ami Henry James. Voici donc, contées par une plume diserte, les aventures d'une belle grisette, dans le Quartier latin d'antan. Trilby est blanchisseuse et modèle. Petit Billy, un peintre anglais génial flanqué de deux amis pour la vie, s'éprend d'elle, mais son milieu réprouve un tel amour. Surgit alors Svengali, pianiste inspiré, magnétiseur à toute heure, prêt au pire pour enlever la belle. Cocasse et émouvant, Trilby offre un tableau de mœurs délicieusement dépaysant. George Du Maurier (1834-1896) est également l'auteur de Peter Ibbetson publié chez Gallimard.
2 vote PierreYvesMERCIER | Feb 19, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
du Maurier, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
George du MaurierIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
It was a fine, sunny, showery day in April.
"'I'm posing for Durien the sculptor, on the next floor. I pose to him for the altogether.'
'The altogether ?' asked Little Billee.
'Yes-l'ensemble, you know-head, hands, and feet-everything-especially feet.'"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Wordsworth Classics edition of "Trilby" does not contain a suppressed chapter, which has been restored in some other editions, such as "Svengali: Du Maurier's Trilby", and the Folio Society's 1947 edition.
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