George du Maurier

A Word from Further off the Path

So this project, which was to be about reading books I own and blogging about them, has so far consisted mostly of reading books I don’t own and not blogging about them.

I was going – I really was – to write a little after-report of The Phantom of the Opera. I was going to say intelligent things about the mystery genre and the tendency of its storylines to be plausible physically but psychologically utterly bizarre, taking Ellery Queen as a comparison-case.

I was going to say a thing or so, too, about the first film version (which I saw many years ago, and then again after I was done with the book), and about the peculiar interaction between the descriptions of the book and the half-memories of other images, so that although the Persian was described as black-skinned I saw him like this:


And although Christine was described as blonde I saw her like this:


And although Erik was described as having eyes so sunken as to be invisible, I saw him like… well, this:


(Lon Chaney’s makeup is remarkable, but it’s also kind of sui generis; I find his appearance hard to connect directly to that described in the book.)

I was going to watch a recording of the Lloyd Webber musical (of which I have no previous knowledge except for the 2004 film and enraged fan reactions thereto), and try to say something intelligent about that.

I was, in other words, going to make something come of all this.

Instead, I’m cluttering my AO3 account with unfortunate fanfic (no, you may not read it; I’m doing my best to keep that identity separate). And reading Trilby, about which more later if it doesn’t drive me nutzoid. (Srsly, I can’t read French anyway, so asking me to read French in a spelled-out Teutonic accent is just unkind.)

(Also, that opening page. Gah, that opening page. I thought I’d opened up The Picture of Dorian Gray by mistake.)

(Or do all late-Victorian novels open with a scene like that? Dorian Gray may be the only other one I’ve ever read.)

(The pictures sure are pretty, though.)