"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
As the old year ends and 2024 begins, the Daphne du Maurier website wishes you all a very Happy New Year and hopes 2024 will be a good year for everyone.
BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra to explore Daphne du Maurier’s Life and Work – March 2024
Daphne du Maurier's 70th birthday portrait
We are so excited to be able to tell you all that BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra have put together a fortnight of special programming about Daphne du Maurier and her work to be broadcast during March 2024. The BBC aim to shine a new light on Daphne du Maurier and her work, who they, quite rightly, describe as
One of the twentieth century’s most enduringly popular writers.
The BBC go on to say
The series will celebrate the imaginative variety and power of arguably one of the most underestimated but prolific and radical female writers of the last century.
The series of programmes begins on Saturday 2nd March. To find out more, go to our News Page, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).
Taylor Swift and Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Two Celebrity Fans of Daphne du Maurier’s writing.
Daphne du Maurier’s writing is loved by millions of people right across the world. Her novels and short stories, in particular, never cease to capture people’s imaginations, and once someone has read a piece of du Maurier’s writing, they are inevitably hooked and need to read more. She means so much to such a wide demographic, including many well-known and celebrity figures.
Taylor Swift is one such Daphne du Maurier fan. Her song Tolerate It was inspired by Daphne’s most famous novel, Rebecca. We have discovered a great piece on TikTok from an interview between Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney. She specifically refers to Daphne du Maurier and explains how reading Rebecca inspired her song, Tolerate It.
Please click here to watch Taylor Swift talking about Daphne: https://www.tiktok.com/@theswiftiebookclub/video/7254983959988194565
Actor and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge is also a fan of Daphne du Maurier. She is probably most famous for adapting Killing Eve for television and for creating, writing and starring in the dark comedy Flea Bag. In an interview with Far Our Magazine in October 2023, she talked with Aimee Ferrier about her favourite books of all time. Third on her list of thirteen titles was the Daphne du Maurier short story, The Blue Lenses. We are happy to see Daphne du Maurier’s work represented in Phoebe’s list, especially as it is one of Daphne’s less well-known short stories, which suggests to us that Phoebe has read a lot more of Daphne du Maurier’s writing, too.
To read more about Phoebe Waller-Bridge and to see all the books on her list, please click here: https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/phoebe-waller-bridges-favourite-books-of-all-time
There is plenty to celebrate and lots of reading to be done in 2024, with several du Maurier titles celebrating anniversaries.
Probably the most important anniversary is for Gerald: A Portrait, Daphne du Maurier's biography of her father, published by Victor Gollancz in 1934 (a year later by Doubleday in the US), and celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2024. Having completed three novels, all published by William Heineman, Gerald: A Portrait was Daphne's first biography and her first book to be published by Victor Gollancz. Gerald du Maurier had been one of the most successful and popular actor-mangers of his era, and his sudden death from cancer when he was only sixty-one was a huge shock to his family, colleagues and his many fans. Within six months of his death, Daphne had completed his biography. It was a candid account of her father's life and work and caused quite a stir when it was published, with some of his contemporaries concerned that their daughters might write similarly candid biographies after their deaths! However, the book was a success and significantly contributed to the launch of Daphne's career with her new publisher, Victor Gollancz.
An image of a very scarce copy Gerald: A Portrait, first published in 1934
Two individual short stories were published in 1944: Spring Picture, which would later be renamed The Closing Door, was published by Todd Publishing in a slim hardback edition,
Spring Picture, later renamed The Closing Door, published in 1944
and Escort, published by Vallancey Press (part of the Todd Publishing Group) in an approximately A5 size paperback, little more than a small, slim magazine. Copies of this title are scarce as their ephemeral quality meant that they were often read and thrown away. These small books celebrate their 80th anniversary.
Escort, a single story paperback, published in 1944
Ten years later, in 1954, so celebrating its 70th anniversary, Early Stories was published by Bantam Books. The book, an early experiment in paperback fiction, contained eighteen short stories and included The Closing Door.
Early Stories, an early experiment in paperback fiction, published in 1954
Also published in 1954, in both the UK and the US, was Mary Anne, the novelised version of the life of Daphne's great, great grandmother Mary Anne Clarke.
Mary Anne, published in 1954
Then, in 1964, The Daphne du Maurier Tandem was published. This book, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2024, contains two of Daphne's novels, My Cousin Rachel and Mary Anne.
The Daphne du Maurier Tandem, published in 1964
Moving on to films, there are two anniversaries. Firstly, the original movie of Frenchman's Creek, starring Joan Fontaine as Dona St Columb and Arturo de Cordova as the pirate, Jean Benoit Aubrey, was screened in glorious technicolour in 1944, so an impressive 80 years ago.
The original film of Frenchman's Creek, 1944
Celebrating its 10th anniversary is the three-part television series of Jamaica Inn, starring Jessica Brown Findlay, Matthew McNulty, Sean Harris, and Joanne Whalley. This was first shown on television in the UK in 2014.
An image from the serial for television of Jamaica Inn, 2014
We have one more anniversary to tell you about. Trilby was the second novel to be written by Daphne's grandfather, George du Maurier's second novel. It was published in instalments in Harpers Monthly Magazine between January and July 1894, making 2024 the 130th anniversary year. In the same year, Trilby was published in a single-volume book in the US and as a three-volume set in the UK. Geroge was already an immensely popular illustrator with Punch Magazine. However, Trilby's success escalated him to tremendous fame and brought us the first best seller as we understand the term today.
An image of the three volume first edition set of Trilby by George du Maurier, published 1894
If you haven't read them already, we recommend that you try some of the titles that will be celebrating anniversaries this year. We are confident you will find plenty to enjoy.
In early autumn 2023, we revamped the Daphne du Maurier website, changing our home page picture to the iconic image of young Daphne smoking a cigarette in the kitchen at Ferryside. We also changed the colour scheme, and our wonderful technical wizards made clever amendments, making the Daphne du Maurier website much more user-friendly on your phones, something which I know has made life easier for many of you.
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.
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.