Tuesday, 13 May 2014

13 May in literature

Daphne du Maurier is born on this day in 1907. Mostly known for romantic suspense novels.

She settled in Cornwall where many of her books take place. One of the most popular is Rebecca, which tells about a young girl who marries a man whose first wife died mysteriously. It was set in a mansion called Manderley. It was modelled after her own 70-room (!) home Menabilly which she renovated for many years. The book was made into an Academy Award-winning picture in 1940, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I still remember the scary housekeeper! The opening line is famous: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Other famous books are; The Birds, Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek and many, many more.

She also wrote memoirs, histories and biographies. One of them is The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë (click link to see my review)She got interested in the Brontës and did a lot of research before starting to write the book.

Du Maurier was granted the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969. She died in 1989.

For more reading on Du Maurier I can recommend Margaret Forster's wonderful biography.


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