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Horror du Maurier, George: Trilby (illustrated). v 1. 21 Oct 2021
#1  GrannyGrump 10-21-2021, 07:12 AM
Gothic horror novel Trilby was one of the most popular novels of its time, perhaps the second best selling novel of the Fin de siècle period after Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is set in the 1850s in an idyllic bohemian Paris. Although it features the stories of three artists, one of the most memorable characters is Svengali: a rogue, master musician, and hypnotist. The story tells how a poor artist’s model, Trilby O’Ferrall, although tone-deaf, is transformed into a phenomenal singer under the hypnotic spell of that evil genius.

With 120 illustrations by the author.

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George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (6 March 1834 – 8 October 1896) was a Franco-British cartoonist and writer who is known for his work in the British magazine Punch and for his novels.

Deteriorating eyesight caused du Maurier to reduce his involvement with Punch in 1891, and turn to writing. His first novel, Peter Ibbetson (1891), was modestly successful, and later adapted for stage and screen, and as an opera.

His 1894 gothic horror novel, Trilby, was hugely popular. The plot inspired Gaston Leroux’s 1910 popular novel Phantom of the Opera and innumerable works derived from it.

It was very much “of its time,” and the book is now noted by some critics as having an anti-Semitic bias.

Trivia notes: As well as introducing the term “Svengali” for a man with dominating powers over a (generally female) protégée, it inspired the name and public popularity of the “trilby,” a soft snap-brim hat, after being worn in a stage production by the female lead character.
( — Information adapted from Wikipedia.)

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Trilby was originally published in 1894. This book is in the public domain worldwide, because the author died more than 100 years ago, and it was published prior to 1925.

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Not horrific, but chilling due to the complete control the sinister Svengali has over innocent and tender Trilby (all the men in the story are in love with her). And caveat — there is much French dialogue and poetry in this book, far too much for me to track down or "google-translate" — but the book is still enjoyable even for us non-French-speakers.
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