Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy birthday, Daphne du Maurier

It is the birthday of English writer Daphne du Maurier (1907), who is best remembered for her novels Jamaica Inn (1936), Rebecca (1938), which is considered her best work, and Frenchman's Creek (1941). Her father was the well-known actor-manager Gerald du Maurier and her mother was actress Muriel Beaumont, so it's little surprise that Daphne also wrote a stage version of Rebecca. The story was adapted many times for both stage and screen, the most notable version being the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film. Hitchcock also directed adaptations of Jamaican Inn (1939) and her short story The Birds (1963). Daphne du Maurier had a difficult time with Rebecca, suffering from terrible writer's block. Finally, after accompanying her military officer husband to Egypt, her story began to gel. Scholars say it was because she found Egypt a harsh departure from her beloved mansion in Cornwall that became the setting for Rebecca.

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