It’s time for my next post for the Rebecca Read-a-long today! So here are ten facts about Daphne du Maurier.
1. Manderley was based on du Maurier’s own home in Cornwall, Menabilly. When she moved in 1943, the house was in serious disrepair. She restored it, and lived there with her husband and children until 1969.
2. While Rebecca is by far her best known work, in total she wrote seventeen novels, five biographies, a number of short stories, two plays, and a travel book.
3. Her early diaries and letters, which reportedly reveal a lot about her writing processes at the beginning of her career, her relationship with her father and her lovers, will be released from embargo in 2029.
4. She was most likely bisexual, but referred to her sexuality as ‘Venetian’. While she and her husband stayed married throughout their lives, du Maurier seems to have had a number of relationships with other women, most notably Ellen Doubleday (the wife of du Maurier’s American publisher) and Gertrude Lawrence, an actress.
5. The Brontës were extremely important to du Maurier. Not only did she write a biography about Branwell Brontë, she also wrote an introduction to the 1954 Macdonalds Classics version of Wuthering Heights.
6. She dabbled in oil paintings around the time she was researching and writing about Branwell Brontë. They went on display for the first time in 2011, and you can see this short report from the BBC about them!
7. In an interview with Helen Taylor, du Maurier’s son, Kits, reported that she had been impressed by Hitchcock’s film adaptation of Rebecca, but not of his version of Jamaica Inn.
8. She began writing Rebecca while in Alexandria, Egypt while he husband was stationed there with the army.
9. The critics of her day were quick to label her as a romance author, which she greatly despised.
10. The Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature, which runs every May, celebrates du Maurier’s love of Cornwall both in her personal life and her writing career, as well as hosting contemporary authors.
Do you have any facts about du Maurier to share below?