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Du Maurier, George

Trilby: A novel. One of the first Russian translations.

Trilby: A novel. One of the first Russian translations.

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English literature / Firsts London 2024 / French literature / Translations
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Du Maurier, George [Trilby: A novel]. Trilbi.

Translation [and preface] by V. Vladimirov.

S.-Peterburg, izdanie knizhnogo magazine M.M. Lederle, 1896.
8vo, [8], 320 pp.

In publisher’s original light purple cloth. Gilt-lettered and decorated in black on front cover, gilt-lettered on spine.
In good condition, lightly rubbed to spine and edges, very faintly spotted, small owner signature to title.

One of the first three Russian translations, all of which appeared in the same year. The only edition of this translation.

Undoubtedly, 1896 was the year of 'Trilby' in Russia. Following its success in the USA (with products ranging from soap to songs, dances, toothpaste, and even a city named after the novel in Florida), Russian translators became interested in the novel, and three translations were published in the same year. One was by Mikhail Lederle's publishing house, another by Nikolay Merts's publishing house, and a third in the literary magazine 'Severny Vestnik' (#1-8).
The author of this translation was Vladimir Volfson (pen name Vladimirov; 1852-1890), a biologist, writer, and critic who was interested in the effects of hypnotism on the human brain. Volfson is known for his book, 'Theory of Hypnotism' (1889), which explores the subject in depth. It's possible that Volfson was drawn to the novel 'Trilby' because it features Svengali, a rogue and masterful musician who is also a hypnotist.
It is worth noting that in 1895, an unauthorized adaptation of 'Trilby' for the stage was performed in the USA. In December of the following year, a play based on 'Trilby' by Grigorii Ge, a writer and son of the important realist painter Nikolai Ge, was staged at an amateur theatre (the text was published in 1897).
One additional translation of the novel was published in 1897. However, it wasn't until 1960 that another translation of 'Trilby' was released.

We couldn’t trace any copy of this edition in the USA or European libraries via OCLC.

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