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Chapter 49: Beaux / Arts

I have a terrible confession to make. I have never read Trilby. I know, that's not unusual anymore, but come on, I am writing about a teenage bookworm in 1904 and I can't sit down and read Trilby before I go running my mouth? That is like writing a story set in an American high school in 2007 without knowing anything about Twilight. It effectively creates an alternate universe.

Svengali was an uncouth Evil Jew with impressive powers of hypnosis who used those powers to trick pretty tone-deaf Trilby into becoming a famous singer, and also marrying him. His career as a figure of speech (meaning "one who exerts controlling or mesmeric influence on another,") seems to have significantly outlasted his career as a character in a book people read, but I don't know if it'll last much longer. It's taken a dive since about 2000, though incidence is still higher in 2008 than in 1904; Ev may actually think she is coining a clever neologism here.

Ev is using "Svengali" in a very loose sense, basically as an adjective with the same value as current use of "mesmerizing."

I didn't meet my word count goals today, but I did make minimum, so I have rewarded myself anyway by putting up Chapter 49 and also spending two hours trying to ascertain the likelihood of a Presbyterian Shrewsbury townie circa 1904 ever encountering an actual Jewish person. The answer is "pretty small," though we know from Anne of Green Gables that at least one German Jewish pedlar was actively selling hair dye unsuitable for redheads and being presumed to be Italian by Marilla Cuthbert either around this time or thirty years before, depending on whether you accept the revised post-Rilla timeline as plausible (it's not at all, but I won't hold that against you).

ETA: ff.net titles don't allow slashes, either. Hmmm. . . .

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