"Janet Coombe stood on the hill above Plyn, looking down upon the harbour. Although the sun was already high in the heavens, the little town was still wrapped in an early morning mist. It clung to Plyn like a thin pale blanket, lending to the place a faint whisper of unreality as if the whole had been blessed by the touch of ghostly fingers."
The Loving Spirit, ch. 1, p. 1, William Heinemann Ltd., 1931
Welcome to the Daphne du Maurier website
Taylor Swift's song Tolerate It inspired by Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca
We have discovered a great little piece on Tik Tok from an interview when Taylor Swift was talking to Paul McCartney. She refers specifically to Daphne du Maurier and explains how reading Rebecca inspired her song Tolerate It. We love that so many people of all ages are inspired by Daphne. She means so much to such a wide demographic.
Please click here to watch Taylor talking about Daphne https://www.tiktok.com/@theswiftiebookclub/video/7254983959988194565
The Blue Lenses – one of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's favourite books of all time
30th October 2023: Actor and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge is probably most famous for adapting Killing Eve for television and for creating, writing and starring in the dark comedy Fleabag. In an interview with Far Out magazine recently, she talked with Aimee Ferrier about her favourite books of all time. Third on her list of thirteen titles was The Blue Lenses by Daphne du Maurier. We are happy to see Daphne du Maurier's work represented on Phoebe's list, especially as this is one of Daphne's less well-known short stories. We are guessing this means Phoebe has read more of Daphne du Maurier's writing, too. To read more about Phoebe Waller-Bridge and to see what other books are on her list of essential reads, please click here https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/phoebe-waller-bridges-favourite-books-of-all-time/
What's been happening at the Daphne du Maurier website during July, August and September 2023?
This summer has been a busy time at the Daphne du Maurier website. The most exciting thing to happen was when we launched the newly updated website on Monday 4th September. Daphne du Maurier's son, Kits Browning, her granddaughter, Grace, and I all agreed that the image to use on our new home page had to be the iconic sepia picture of Daphne sitting in the Ferryside kitchen, smoking a cigarette in November 1930. It epitomises the era and defines the important moment when she was writing her first novel, The Loving Spirit. We are delighted that so many of you like our choice of home page picture and are enjoying the clarity and simplicity of the new website, not least the fact that it now works beautifully on mobile phones.
During the summer, we also brought you news of a literary weekend, including a special event to celebrate Daphne du Maurier, which took place on the historic wooden sailing vessel Lady Daphne, moored at Charlestown in Cornwall. The Daphne du Maurier Society of North America held two events during the summer. They had their first ever Reading Retreat in July and discussed the short story The Breakthrough. In September, they continued the theme with their autumn Short Story Study meeting and pursued more discussion relating to The Breakthrough.
Fowey Festival ran two fundraising quiz nights, one in July and one in September, at the Safe Harbour in Fowey and raised nearly £500.00. This was splendid because Fowey Festival is a charity, which means that all the money needed to hold the yearly festival is raised through fundraising.
On 2nd August, we brought you an article about the background to the wartime short stories in Come Wind, Come Weather, a book by Daphne du Maurier, very different to anything else in her writing.
We reminded you about Daphne du Maurier's books and films celebrating anniversaries in 2023. In August, we celebrated the 85th anniversary of the publication of Rebecca, and this year, the films of two of Daphne's most well-known short stories also celebrate special anniversaries. The Birds celebrates its 60th anniversary, and Don't Look Now celebrates its 50th anniversary.
It was with great sadness that we told you of the death of du Maurier aficionado Collin Langley after a lengthy illness. His research and enthusiasm provided much information about Daphne du Maurier, often referencing less well-known aspects of her life and work and that of her ancestors.
We brought you an interesting article on Rhododendrons, which link the fictional Manderley to the real Menabilly. And we told you about a character in the British soap, Emmerdale, reading a copy of Rebecca in one of the storylines.
Finally, one of the most exciting events of the summer was the launch, in September, of the English language musical Rebecca at the Charing Cross Theatre in London. We are sure to be hearing more about it as the theatre run continues and more people get to see it.
To look back on the summer and read more about all that has been happening, please go to the News Page by clicking here: https://www.dumaurier.org/news.php?nc=2 and following the links.
4th September 2023: As you can see, we have created a new look for the Daphne du Maurier website, using an iconic picture of Daphne from November 1930. It shows her seated by the kitchen door at Ferryside, looking very relaxed and stunningly beautiful.
While giving our website a bit of a facelift and bringing it up to date, we have not changed the format at all, so you can still find your way around the News Pages and the various articles and images we have put on over the years. You can also look forward to lots more articles, information and pictures in the coming weeks and months. So, check back to the Daphne du Maurier website and our Facebook and Twitter pages regularly.
Daphne du Maurier’s first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published about a year after our new Home Page picture of her was taken. The quote below this image of Daphne has been selected from the opening of The Loving Spirit. We know that Daphne had been working on her writing for some time and honed her skills on short stories and articles, some of which had already been published in magazines. However, as you read these opening lines to The Loving Spirit, it is important to remember how young she was and that this was possibly the most impactful moment of her incredible writing career.
During a time span of over fifty years, Daphne wrote seventeen novels, including Castle Dor, which Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch had started, and she completed. Daphne also wrote over fifty short stories, two works of autobiography, six biographies, three plays, her morale-boosting WW2 book, Come Wind, Come Weather and her book about Cornwall and its history, Vanishing Cornwall.
To read more about Daphne’s canon of work, please go to the Bibliography section here.
The Daphne du Maurier website welcomes new readers and the return of everyone who connects with us regularly or occasionally throughout the year. You can always join us here on the website and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
To contact us, please click on the email link at the bottom of this page.
Works by Daphne du Maurier with Special Anniversaries in 2023
In August 1938, Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca was published in the UK. It was to become the most famous of all her books and has never been out of print. This month we celebrate the 85th anniversary of Rebecca.
Rebecca has been published in many different editions and languages across the world. Daphne wrote the play of her novel in 1939, and since then, others have adapted Daphne's book into play format, films for cinema and television, and a musical. The 1940 Hitchcock film Rebecca has become a classic movie that people enjoy more than any other adaptation.
A first edition of Rebecca, dated 1938 and a poster from the 1940 film
The English language version of the musical Rebecca premieres in London on 4th September at the Charing Cross Theatre, London. If you get the opportunity to see the musical let us know your thoughts on it by contacting us at the website by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To celebrate the 85th anniversary of Rebecca, why don't you buy yourself a copy of this iconic book, either a new paperback or one of the lovely old copy available from second-hand and antiquarian book shops or via internet sites such as Abebooks. Please click here for Abebooks. Or to book tickets to see the musical at the Charing Cross Theatre in London, please click here.
Lauren Jones as the second Mrs de Winter and Kara Lane as Mrs Danvers in the new musical production of Rebecca, 2023
Two of Daphne du Maurier's most well-known short stories also celebrate special anniversaries this year. The Birds celebrates its 60th anniversary, and Don't Look Now celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The short story collection, The Apple Tree: A Short Novel and Several Long Stories, which included The Birds, changed its name to The Birds and Other Stories when Penguin published it in its first paperback edition in the UK, 60 years ago in 1963. The publication of the Penguin edition coincided with the release of the Hitchcock film The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation was loosely based on Daphne's short story, moving the location from an isolated corner of Cornwall to Bodega Bay in California while retaining the terror of the unexplained and violent attacks of the birds on the people. The film was and continues to be, one of Hitchcock's most famous and successful movies.
The Birds movie poster, 1963
Ten years later, in 1973, the collection of short stories called Not After Midnight and Other Stories changed its name to Don't Look Now and Other Stories, when it took the name of the short story that had become the most well-known in that collection, thus making this year the 50th anniversary of that title. The success of Don't Look Now, as a short story and a film, are at least partly due to director Nicholas Roeg, who adapted Daphne's short story with immense skill and integrity. Any changes to the original text in the film feel entirely justified as they enhance the movie's visual impact. The film Don't Look Now has taken on cult status and remains as popular today as when it was first released. It is probably the most terrifying of all Daphne's works, both in the short story form and the film.
The movie Don't Look Now from 1973
Do see these movies and read or reread the short stories during their anniversary year; you will be so glad you did. But remember to leave the lights on because these stories are probably the scariest things Daphne ever wrote!
What's been happening at the Daphne du Maurier website during April, May and June 2023?
A round-up of what’s been happening at the Daphne du Maurer website during the first three months of 2023
2023 has started at quite a pace, with lots of exciting information and news relating to Daphne du Maurier.
We started the New Year with an article from one of our favourite contributors, Jo Wing. Jo writes a blog, Return of a Native, which covers many literary names and subjects. In this new piece, Jo talked about Jamaica Inn, Daphne du Maurier, and her life at the time that she wrote what was to become one of her most famous novels. In January, we also told you about Fern Britton’s Channel 5 television programme, My Cornwall with Fern Britton, in which she visited Fowey and made particular reference to Daphne.
We looked at two new books, Setara Pracha’s long-awaited and excellent book, The Pathology of Desire in Daphne du Maurier’s Short Stories, and a delightful novel set in Fowey called Into A Cornish Wind by Kate Ryder. Amanda White produced her second du Maurier-related greetings card. This time the image is of Ferryside, beautifully created using a form of an incredibly delicate collage.
The Daphne du Maurier Society of North America held their first event of the year. The subject was The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, one of Daphne du Maurier’s favourite novels from childhood.
Fowey Festival news included the January launch of the 2023 Young Writers and Artists Awards. This competition has now closed, judging is taking place, and we will be able to announce the winners to you soon. The 25th Anniversary Fowey Festival takes place from 12th - 20th May. The programme and box office went live on 25th March. The programme looks fabulous, with many great events for you to enjoy. The Fowey Festival Trustees are holding two coffee mornings in April, with a pop-up box office so you can talk to the Trustees and some of the Festival volunteers about upcoming events and book your tickets.
We brought you an interesting article about the US Armed Services editions of Daphne du Maurier’s books, a brilliant, in-depth article by Jane Prince about Castle D’Or, news of the beautifully refurbished Daphne du Maurier museum at Jamaica Inn and a piece about the film of The Birds which celebrated its 60th anniversary at the end of March.
To catch up on all that we have discussed since the New Year, please click here for our News page and then follow the individual links.
Federick Browning and Daphne du Maurier soon after their marriage.
Today we are sharing with you a seldom-seen photograph of Daphne du Maurier and her husband, Frederick Browning, known to his family as Tommy. This photograph was taken very early in their married life, so it is approximately 90 years old and is a treat for us all to see.
Looking at the Daphne du Maurier-related anniversaries that take place during 2023, we begin with the 90th anniversary of the publication of Daphne’s third novel, The Progress of Julius. Written largely at Ferryside and published in the spring of 1933, this novel was her last to be published by William Heinemann. In the 1990s, its title was changed to Julius. To read our book review of Julius, please click here.
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A 1933 UK first edition and a US 1942 edition of The Progress of Julius
Rebecca celebrates its 85th anniversary in August 2023. This is, of course, Daphne du Maurier’s most famous and enduring novel. It has never been out of print and has been published in many different editions and different languages. Daphne du Maurier wrote the original adaptation of Rebecca for theatre. The novel has also been adapted for the cinema, television and as a musical.
A 1938 UK first edition of Rebecca
2023 is the 80th anniversary of Daphne’s seventh novel, Hungry Hill, a passionate saga about a copper mining family set mainly in Ireland.
A 1943 UK first edition of Hungry Hill
The Glass Blowers celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2023. This semi-biographical novel was based on the story of Daphne’s French ancestors before and during the French Revolution. The Bussons were a family of master glassblowers and took the name du Maurier from Le Maurier, the name of the farm where one of the glass foundries they worked at was located.
A 1963 UK first edition of The Glass Blowers
A Louis XV engraved crystal tumbler made by the Bussons and passed down through the family was in Daphne’s possession at the time she wrote this novel.
The Louis XV engraved crystal tumbler made by Daphne du Maurier's ancestors
In the US, the collection of short stories entitled Kiss Me Again Stranger was published in 1953 and celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2023. This book included the same short stories as those found in the UK publication, The Apple Tree, but with the addition of Split Second and No Motive.
A 1953 US first edition of Kiss Me Again Stranger
The short story collection, The Apple Tree: A Short Novel and Several Long Stories, which included The Birds, changed its name to The Birds and Other Stories when Penguin published it in its first paperback edition in the UK 60 years ago in 1963. Similarly, ten years later, Not After Midnight and Other Stories changed its name to Don’t Look Now and Other Stories, when it took the name of the short story that had become the most well-known in that collection, thus making this year the 50th anniversary of that title.
Current UK Penguin paperback editions of The Birds and Other Stories and Don't Look Now and Other Stories, celebrating their 60th and 50th anniversaries in 2023
In March 2016 we re-launched the Daphne du Maurier website. We extend thanks to the du Maurier Browning family for its on-going support and John Baxendale for all his work running the site for so many years.
You will find information about Daphne du Maurier's life and work, and her family and associates, on this site. A Forum provides an opportunity for Daphne's readers, followers, admirers, and fans to contribute their views and knowledge, a News Page to keep you up to date with the latest information on people, places, and events connected with Daphne, and much more.
At the top of the page, is a picture of the Gribbin Head, just outside Fowey, a feature of the landscape that was so important to Daphne du Maurier and her writing.
Early in 2020, a new organisation called the Daphne du Maurier Society of North America was formed, with their base in Dallas, Texas. They suggested that we forge links with them, and, with the blessing of the du Maurier Browning family, that is precisely what we did. By joining together, we can promote their events and learn from any discoveries that come about through their meetings. We can also share the knowledge and information that is continually growing on our website. Click here to find out more about them: https://daphnedumauriersociety.org
Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, the great writer and important literary man of Fowey, was often referred to as Q. Some years ago, the Daphne du Maurier website was approached by The Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch Memorial Fund (the Q Fund) asking if we would consider giving him an internet presence. Because of the close links between Daphne du Maurier and Q, we happily agreed to this. So, it was with real pleasure that the du Maurier Browning family and the Daphne du Maurier website welcomed this section to the website dedicated to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Just click here to find out more: https://www.dumaurier.org/sirarthurquillercouch.php
We are always interested in including your articles, news, reviews, and snippets of information on the website. So, come on all you Daphne du Maurier and Q followers, make this your website by getting in touch and sharing what you know.