FIRST SERIAL APPEARANCE OF SVENGALI
DU MAURIER, George. Trilby. IN: Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. New York: Harper and Brothers, January-August, 1894. New York: Harper and Brothers, January-August, 1894. Slim quarto, modern three-quarter olive crushed morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards, top edge gilt, uncut. $450.
First appearance of George du Maurier’s popular Trilby, featuring the character of Svengali, with numerous illustrations by him, extracted from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and handsomely bound by Oldach.
Already famous as an artist for Punch, du Maurier was encouraged by Henry James to write novels and illustrate them himself. His first was Peter Ibbetson (1891). “The ample illustrations by the writer, in his most attractive style, contributed greatly to Ibbetson’s success, which was sufficient to induce the publishers to commission a second story, to be published in monthly installments in the pages of Harper’s. The first chapters of Trilby appeared in January 1894” (DNB). Trilby is best remembered for the “preternaturally competent mesmerist,” Svengali. Some literary critics regard Trilby as a key influence on Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel, Le Fantome de l’Opera. The novel would be filmed many times, most notably in 1931 with the title Svengali, starring John Barrymore. This serial publication “contains a passage of nearly 1500 words [pages 577-78], plus a drawing [of a figure leaning against the back wall, on page 575] introducing, describing and depicting a character ‘Joe Sibley… [both of which] were suppressed after serial issue, as, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they represented Whistler” (Sadleir). Sadleir 1675. See Clute & Nicholls, 357; Barron, Fantasy and Horror 3-37.
A near-fine copy, with some leaves mounted, occasional light mark of handling.