chapter  13
12 Pages

Trilby’s ‘Kitchen’: the Displaced Domestic Spaces of George Du Maurier and Henry James

BySara Thornton

George Du Maurier's writing in Trilby makes connections between cookery and drawing that develop his remarks in Social Pictorial Satire in which he deployed the metaphor of the kitchen garden to describe the subjects of his pictures. Her 'kitchen' emblematizes some of the tensions and exchanges between art and cookery that exist within the novel. Here 'cooking' becomes the process by which the model's physical characteristics are subsumed into the picture, no longer recognizably themselves but transformed into whatever serves the artist's particular purpose. Society is presented as a kind of kitchen garden, available to the satirist for easy picking. One of Trilby's many domestic duties is that of cooking. Early in the novel the narrator describes the cooking and eating equipment which forms a part of the studio in which the artists work, thus establishing the possibility of cooking and dining 'at home'.