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Trilby (1894)

de George du Maurier

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759921,756 (3.17)47
'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.… (mais)
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Such was the power of Svengali to mesmerise the world that his name became a word. In brief he takes a tone-deaf girl and turns her into a great diva, as long as she is hypnotised before she sings. Alas at one performance he is incapacitated and as Trilby tries to sing, but cannot - to the disgust of the audience – she is in a strange situation where she is aware of her life with Svengali but has no conception at all of her singing career. In fact this is not exactly how hypnotism works, but never mind that, the idea is fascinating.

If you’d asked me I would have thought the most likely reasons people want to be hypnotised is to give up smoking and to lose weight. Not so! The most asked for thing is this – can I be hypnotised to forget a person?

The uneasy reply is somewhere between a reluctant ‘yes’ and ‘this isn’t the right thing to do.’ What the experts want you to do, apparently, is trash the person you want to forget. There seems here to be a presumption that if you do want to forget them, they deserve to be trashed – ie it isn’t an artificial construct to get you over somebody who doesn’t deserve to be thus treated in your head. So, my first question is, but what if you don’t think that? I know the answer is supposed to be that you are a sucker who hasn’t gotten over a bad person in your life, but that can’t possibly always be true. Must there not also be some chance that this is a fabulously wonderful person and that trashing them as being undeserving in some way is a terrible thing to do? I find it hard to believe this is seen as the healthy option. If it comes down to it, maybe you are a scumbag and he isn’t.

My next question revolves around the idea that you have been hypnotised to forget a person and this has worked. How has it worked? If you forget a person successfully, what impact does this have on the rest of your memories? A person isn’t a discrete unit. He is time and space, sensation, touch, sound, he has a context, a background, he is part of a social setting. You went to dinner with this person and had the most divine meal. What impact does hypnosis to forget the person have on the memory of the meal? Instead of a picture in your head of some wonderful romantic occasion where you shared spaghetti together, you have what? The same picture, but your lover is erased? It is just you and a plate of spaghetti? Is there an empty chair next to you? Has the waiter filled two water glasses? Does the other fork move, but there is nobody attached to it???? Most importantly, do you get more spaghetti in this changed memory than you did on the real occasion? How much is erased with the memory of the person?

Maybe you can do that, I imagine. Maybe the mind’s eye picture of this whole occasion is erased. But add to this, a social setting, for example. Now there are three of you at dinner. How does the removal of one person from the memory of this work? You recall person ‘a’ asking a question but there is no answer because you have erased the memory of person ‘b’ to whom the question was addressed? I can’t see that in forgetting the required person, you would also forget the innnocent bystander, so to speak.

And there are the things that will be fundamentally imprinted on you, in a way spaghetti might not be. (MIGHT not, mark you…) How would you forget the way you made love, slept, woke up? And even if you forgot in a passive sense, surely you would be reminded of them by – well, it could be anything. Putting out the washing and noticing that a cardigan has been undone that isn’t usually and there is a whole memory attached to that. How it was taken off, what happened next. You are made love to exquisitely. It involves all of him, he is completely joined to you. What happens to that? Does it become an Immaculate Orgasm?

Note to self: discuss this with the VM next time in church, maybe she knows. Hey, though. That makes me think. Maybe this is exactly what happened. She shagged someone who was a bad ‘un, a couple of sessions with a hypnotherapist and voila, the Immaculate Conception.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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 |
Trilby
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 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
du Maurier, GeorgeAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
George du MaurierIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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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'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.

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