Published in 1938 by Daphne du Maurier, "Rebecca" was a best seller right away and has never been out of print. It has sold over three million copies. It is the story of a naive young girl who is swept up into a marriage with a rich, older, urbane widower. After a short two week courtship they follow their honeymoon with settling into his estate, Manderley.She is often compared to … [Read more...]
Daphne du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier was an English playwright and novelist born in May 1907. Daphne was the second of three daughters. Her parents were both actors, Sir Gerald du Maurier and Mauriel Beaumont. Her grandfather was and author and the creator of Punch cartoon. He also created the character, Svengali.
Because of her many family connections, her entry into a literary career was smoothed. Some of her first stories were published in her uncle's magazine, Bystander. She was also cousin to the boys used as inspiration for Peter Pan. Her families celebrity brought her in contact with lots of well known people of the time. Although she was praised as a romance novelist, du Maurier disliked that nomenclature. She asserted that she didn't write romances because she didn't guarantee happy endings. Most of her works ended with an unsure ending.
In 1932. she married Lieutenant General Sir Fredrick Arthur Montague "Boy" Browning. He was a senior officer in the British Army and the commander of I Airborne Corps, deputy commander of First Allied Airborne Army and known as the Father of the British Airborne Forces. He also competed in the Olympics on the bobsleigh. The couple had three children, Tessa, Flavia, and Christian.
With a few works published already under her belt, du Maurier wrote her novel, Rebecca, after seeing a dilapidated mansion called Menabilly. She was finally given a lease to it in 1943 and began restoration. Her husband died there in 1965.
"Rebecca" made Daphne du Maurier's career as a writer. She was awarded the National Book Award and was voted by the BBC as the nations most loved novel. Daphne Du Maurier could have rested on that one novel, but she went on to create more classics. Among them are My Cousin Rachel, The Scapegoat and The House on the Strand. She also wrote The Birds a short story that Alfred Hitchcock based his movie by the same name on.
After years of movies made from her novels, she decided to take the reigns and partly finance "The Scapegoat" made from her book of the same name. She chose Alec Guinness to play the lead role and was not happy with the choice afterwards. The only movies she liked that were made from here books were when Alfred Hitchcock made Rebecca and Nicolas Roeg made Don't Look Now.
In her later years, Daphne du Maurier turned to nonfiction, such as "The Years Between" about the return of an officer thought to have been killed in the war. This was later made into play.
In April of 1989 Daphne du Maurier died at the age of eighty one in her home in Cornwall. The same home she set many of her books in. She was cremated. Her ashes were scattered off the cliffs of Fowey, Kilmarth, Cornwall. Of course she has lived on in her writings. Many of her books have never been out of print. Her name continues to be treasured by fans the world over.