Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Svengali? Deciphering the name of Derren Brown's new stage show

Derren Brown is calling his new stage show "Svengali." So what does Svengali mean?

Svengali is the name of the hypnotist character in George du Maurier's novel "Trilby," which was published in 1894. Svenali created the pop-culture stereotype of an evil hypnotist who controls a vulnerable woman (in the case of the novel, a singer named Trilby).

In the past, Derren has avoided stereotypes about hypnotists and magicians, but this time he apparently is taking them head-on. As noted previously, the Svengali trick itself involves an automaton, apparently named Svengali.

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