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The Ulterior Feminism of Rebecca by Melissa Julianne Severn

We are pleased to welcome Melissa Julianne Severn to the Daphne du Maurier website and to introduce her to you all.  Melissa has written an article for us about Daphne du Maurier's most famous novel, Rebecca.  In her article, she brings new insight to the characters of both Rebecca and the second Mrs de Winter in a thought-provoking and beautifully written piece.

An image from Melissa's article


Melissa is in her third year at Birmingham City University, studying for a BA (HONS) degree in
English and Creative Writing.  Her modules include Writing the Novel, Shakespeare Studies, Advanced Poetry and Gothic literature, which is where Daphne du Maurier comes into Melissa's course work, as she studied Rebecca as part of her Gothic module.

However, Melissa's interest in Daphne du Maurer started some time ago.  She originally stumbled upon the du Maurier short story Kiss Me Again Stranger in a 1980 English short story collection that also featured Agatha Christie and Doris Lessing.  She was riveted by it and wanted to explore more of du Maurier's imagination.  She devoured Rebecca soon after. 

Melissa tells me that she feels fortunate to be in the middle of her du Maurier adventure, something that many of us will identify with.  She has yet to read I'll Never Be Young Again, Frenchman's Creek and some of Daphne's lesser-known novels and non-fiction, so she still has a lot to look forward to.  So far, Jamaica Inn is Melissa's favourite du Maurier novel.  She says that she can really identify with Mary Yellen as a heroine, and she finds that the relationship Mary shares with Jem is at once endearing and suspenseful.

As well as du Maurier, Melissa loves to read Agatha Christie, Charlotte Brontė, Jane Austen and Margaret Atwood.  Her favourite poets are Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, and Sylvia Plath.

So now that we have introduced you to Melissa, please enjoy her fascinating article.

Download article here (pdf 2597KB)

February 2022.


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