"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited."
The opening lines to one of the greatest books in the English language – how could I have missed ‘Rebecca (1938)’ from my list of favourites? The BBC is broadcasting several play and stories to mark the centenary of the birth of Daphne Du Maurier on May 13.
Daphne Du Maurier, English novelist and short story writer, author of Jamaica Inn (1936) ,Frenchman’s Creek (1941) My Cousin Rachel (1951) and other novels, was born in London. Born into a family with a rich artistic and historical background her grandfather, George, was a writer and Punch cartoonist, friends with the likes of William Morris and Henry James. Her father, Sir Gerald, was a star of the theatre. Their Hampstead home, Cannon Hall, was always packed with visitors, including “Uncle Jim” (J M Barrie). She was indulged as a child and grew up enjoying enormous freedom from financial and parental restraint. She spent her youth sailing boats, travelling on the Continent with friends, and writing stories. She loved Cornwall and spent time at Ferryside whenever she could, it was there that she wrote her first novel The Loving Spirit. It was this book that was to introduce Daphne to her future husband. Major Tommy (‘Boy’) Browning was so affected by the book that he sailed to Fowey to meet the author. They fell in love and in July 1932 were married at Lanteglos Church. During the first ten years of their marriage Daphne only spent holidays in Cornwall but in 1943 while her husband was at war she rented a house in Fowey called Readymoney and lived their with her three children Dame Daphne du Maurier died on the 19th April 1989. Throughout her lifetime she wrote several novels and volumes of short stories, five biographies and her own autobiography. The place Cornwall held in her heart and the inspiration it provided was captured in many of her books.
For more info see http://www.dumaurier.org/index.html