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Trilby

George du Maurier

Book Overview: 

The story of the poor artist’s model Trilby O’Ferrall, transformed into a diva under the spell of the evil musical genius Svengali, created a sensation. Soap, songs, dances, toothpaste, and Trilby, Florida were all named for the heroine, and a variety of soft felt hat with an indented crown (came to be called a trilby.

The plot inspired Gaston Leroux’s 1910 potboiler Phantom of the Opera and the innumerable works derived from it, and introduced the phrase “in the altogether” (meaning “completely unclothed”) to the English language.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .eed not have existed at all; for he was constantly receiving supplies from his own people in Austria—his old father and mother, his sisters, his cousins, and his aunts, hard-working, frugal folk of whom he was the pride and the darling.

He had but one virtue—his love of his art; or, rather, his love of himself as a master of his art—the master; for he despised, or affected to despise, all other musicians, living or dead—even those whose work he interpreted so divinely, and pitied them for not hearing Svengali give utterance to their music, which of course they could not utter themselves.

"Ils safent tous un peu toucher du biâno, mais pas grand'chose!"

He had been the best pianist of his time at the Conservatory in Leipsic; and, indeed, there was perhaps some excuse for this overweening conceit, since he was able to lend a quite peculiar individual charm of his own to any music he played, except the highest and best of all,. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Simon Cowell:

"They will not let me play myself, but I can teach, I taught the girl to sing, she was nothing by herself. A good voice, but that won't make a great singer. I taught her phrase by phrase, she was my instrument. This is how it begins.

I take the money, she sings more excreble nonsense and

Beauty Without Talent
From school with strict cheerless nuns to university, where I came under the severe hand of my tutor, I identified with the eponymous Trilby the moment I opened the pages of George du Maurier's novel of domination and submission, a book with an undercurrent of eroticism that can

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I enjoyed some aspects of this book - the examination of Bohemian art circles in Paris especially, but the plot did grate on me at points - and was ruined by the blurb of the book! Trilby is an interesting character, but I want always entirely comfortable with her presentation.

I thought I knew what a Svengali was but I did NOT!
I thought it to mean a person of such amounts of charisma and charm that people (usually women) would find them absolutely irresistible. But the Svengali of George DuMaurier is none of those things. He reminds me of the descriptions of Rasputin. He

One day after a long session shelf-diving on Goodreads, I came upon the title of Trilby by DuMaurier. I was pleased to discover my local library had a copy, and placed it on hold. Over a year later, I received notice that it had come in. It was a first edition in the original, now torn, binding and

An unusual fairly anti-Semitic melodrama about the lives of several expatriates in bohemian Paris. The second half tells what becomes of them, including the beautiful young model, Trilby, who becomes a singing sensation under the tutelage of the mysterious Svengali. My favorite parts centered on the

Trilby is highly sentimental, in the worst tradition of late-19th century British fiction, and were it not set in Paris and London, I might be tempted to think of it as kailyard. Svengali and Trilby and several other characters are memorable, but they’re not enough to rescue the novel from bathos. A

Trilby was something I was looking forward to read not just because George du Maurier is Daphne du Maurier's grandfather but I had seen a silent movies long ago based on the book. The Svengali was very much part of this book but definitely this story is not just about his ability to control a young

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 o

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