The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

March 6, 2016

March 6, 1834

George du Maurier (March 6, 1834 to October 8, 1896) was a British novelist. Trilby (1894) was a very popular story that was serialized. Trilby contributed to the imagination about artists and Bohemian life, a theme begun by Murger's La Vie Boheme, some decades previously. The depiction of the literary life has to include those with no talent. And we excerpt from Trilby such a description:

And then, when popular acclaim brings the great dealers and the big cheques, up rises the printed howl of the duffer, the disappointed one, the "wounded thing with an angry cry "—the prosperous and happy bagman that should have been, who has given up all for art, and finds he can't paint and make himself a name, after all, and never will, so falls to writing about those who can—and what writing!

To write in hissing dispraise of our more successful fellow-craftsman, and of those who admire him! that is not a clean or pretty trade. It seems, alas! an easy one, and it gives pleasure to so many. It does not even want good grammar. But it pays—well enough even to start and run a magazine with, instead of scholarship and taste and talent! humor, sense, wit, and wisdom! It is something like the purveying of pornographic pictures: some of us look at them and laugh, and even buy. To be a purchaser is bad enough; but to be the purveyor thereof—ugh!....

Poor, lost, beardless nondescript! why not fly to other climes, where at least thou might'st hide from us thy woful crack, and keep thy miserable secret to thyself! Are there no harems still left in Stamboul for the likes of thee to sweep and clean, no women's beds to make and slops to empty, and doors and windows to bar—and tales to carry, and the pasha's confidence and favor and protection to win? Even that is a better trade than pandering for hire to the basest instinct of all—the dirty pleasure we feel (some of us) in seeing mud and dead cats and rotten eggs flung at those we cannot but admire—and secretly envy!.....

George Du Maurier was also a cartoonist, and published in Punch. Here is one with a cat in the forefront of the scene.

George Du Maurier was the grandfather of one of the finest novelists of the 20th century: Daphne Du Maurier.

No comments: