Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Writers Born Today - Daphne du Maurier

It's the birthday of Daphne duMaurier, author of gothic suspense novels and tales of terror, several of which were made into highly successful films. She was born May 13, 1907 in London and published her first novel at the age of 24, TheLoving Spirit.

More novels followed, and in 1937 she signed a three book deal. She had a title for her next novel, and not much else. It was to be called 
Rebecca, and it would become her masterpiece. The theme of the story was jealousy.

When Rebecca was published in 1938, a review in the Christian Science Monitor predicted it would quickly fade into obscurity, but it became a best seller, and has been in print ever since. It's opening sentence, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.", is one of the most recognized in all of modern fiction. It earned her the National Book Award. The author credited Jane Eyre as her inspiration. Rebecca is a gothic story, a romance, and a novel of suspense wrapped into one.

Rebecca was made into an Oscar winning film by Alfred Hitchcock. He also filmed Jamaica Inn. Hitchcock's most famous film, The Birds, was based on her short story of the same name.

Daphne spent much of her life in her beloved Cornwall. She was interviewed there in 1977, and you can read the interview here.

This is a rare film clip of the author talking with Cliff Michelmore.

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