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Books Read in 2017-2018 > Rebecca - Non-Spoilers

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (last edited Dec 31, 2017 07:47AM) (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Please use this thread for first impressions (non-spoilers), background and general information.


message 2: by Loretta, Moderator (last edited Dec 31, 2017 07:54AM) (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Rebecca is a thriller novel by English author Dame Daphne du Maurier. A best-seller, Rebecca sold 2,829,313 copies between its publication in 1938 and 1965, and the book has never gone out of print.

In 1937, Daphne du Maurier signed a three-book deal with Victor Gollancz and accepted an advance of £1,000.[2] A 2008 article in The Daily Telegraph indicates she had been toying with the theme of jealousy for the five years since her marriage in 1932.[2] She started "sluggishly" and wrote a desperate apology to Gollancz: "The first 15,000 words I tore up in disgust and this literary miscarriage has cast me down rather."[2] Her husband, Tommy "Boy" Browning, was Lieutenant Colonel of the Grenadier Guards and they were posted to Alexandria, Egypt, with the Second Battalion, leaving Britain on 30 July 1937.[2] Gollancz expected her manuscript on their return to Britain in December but she wrote that she was "ashamed to tell you that progress is slow on the new novel....There is little likelihood of my bringing back a finished manuscript in December."[2] On returning to Britain in December 1937, du Maurier decided to spend Christmas away from her family to write the book and she successfully delivered it to her publisher less than four months later.[2] Du Maurier described the plot as "a sinister tale about a woman who marries a widower....Psychological and rather macabre."[2]

Location:

The fictional Hôtel Côte d'Azur, Monte Carlo
The fictional Manderley, a country estate which du Maurier's editor noted "is as much an atmosphere as a tangible erection of stones and mortar"[2]

In 1937, Daphne du Maurier signed a three-book deal with Victor Gollancz and accepted an advance of £1,000.[2] A 2008 article in The Daily Telegraph indicates she had been toying with the theme of jealousy for the five years since her marriage in 1932.[2] She started "sluggishly" and wrote a desperate apology to Gollancz: "The first 15,000 words I tore up in disgust and this literary miscarriage has cast me down rather."[2] Her husband, Tommy "Boy" Browning, was Lieutenant Colonel of the Grenadier Guards and they were posted to Alexandria, Egypt, with the Second Battalion, leaving Britain on 30 July 1937.[2] Gollancz expected her manuscript on their return to Britain in December but she wrote that she was "ashamed to tell you that progress is slow on the new novel....There is little likelihood of my bringing back a finished manuscript in December."[2] On returning to Britain in December 1937, du Maurier decided to spend Christmas away from her family to write the book and she successfully delivered it to her publisher less than four months later.[2] Du Maurier described the plot as "a sinister tale about a woman who marries a widower....Psychological and rather macabre."[2]

Derivation and inspiration:

Some commentators have noted parallels with Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.[3][4] Another of du Maurier's works, Jamaica Inn, is also linked to one of the Brontë sisters' works, Emily's Wuthering Heights. Du Maurier commented publicly in her lifetime that the book was based on her own memories of Menabilly and Cornwall, as well as her relationship with her father.[5] While du Maurier "categorised Rebecca as a study in jealousy... she admitted its origins in her own life to few."[2] Her husband had been "engaged before – to glamorous, dark-haired Jan Ricardo. The suspicion that Tommy remained attracted to Ricardo haunted Daphne."[2] In The Rebecca Notebook of 1981, du Maurier "'remembered' Rebecca's gestation … Seeds began to drop. A beautiful home... a first wife... jealousy, a wreck, perhaps at sea, near to the house... But something terrible would have to happen, I did not know what..."[2] She wrote in her notes prior to writing: 'I want to build up the character of the first [wife] in the mind of the second... until wife 2 is haunted day and night... a tragedy is looming very close and CRASH! BANG! something happens.'"[2] Du Maurier and her husband, "Tommy Browning, like Rebecca and Maximilian de Winter, were not faithful to one another." Subsequent to the novel's publication, "Jan Ricardo, tragically, died during the Second World War [she] threw herself under a train."[2]

Childhood visits to Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire (then in Northamptonshire) home of the Wentworth-Fitzwilliam family, may have influenced the descriptions of Manderley.[6]


Plagiarism allegations:


Shortly after Rebecca was published in Brazil, critic Álvaro Lins pointed out many resemblances between du Maurier's book and the work of Brazilian writer Carolina Nabuco. Nabuco's A Sucessora (The Successor) has a main plot similar to Rebecca, for example a young woman marrying a widower and the strange presence of the first wife – plot features also shared with the far older Jane Eyre.[7] Nina Auerbach alleged in her book, Daphne du Maurier, Haunted Heiress, that du Maurier read the Brazilian book when the first drafts were sent to be published in England and based her famous best-seller on it. According to Nabuco's autobiography, Eight Decades, she (Nabuco) refused to sign a contract brought to her by a United Artists' representative in which she agreed that the similarities between her book and the movie were mere coincidence.[8] Du Maurier denied copying Nabuco's book, as did her publisher, claiming that the plot used in Rebecca was quite common.[citation needed] A further, ironic complication in Nabuco's allegations is the similarity between her novel and the novel Encarnação, written by José de Alencar, Brazil's most celebrated novelist of the nineteenth century, and published posthumously in 1873.[9]

In 1944 in the United States, du Maurier, her US publishers, Doubleday, and various parties connected with the 1940 film version of the novel, were sued for plagiarism by Edwina L. MacDonald who alleged that du Maurier had copied her novel Blind Windows. Du Maurier successfully rebutted the allegations.

Publishing history and reception:

Du Maurier delivered the manuscript to her publisher, Victor Gollancz, in April 1938. On receipt, the book was read in Gollancz's office and her "editor, Norman Collins, reported simply: 'The new Daphne du Maurier contains everything that the public could want.'"[2] Gollancz's "reaction to Rebecca was relief and jubilation" and "a 'rollicking success' was predicted by him."[10] He "did not hang around" and "ordered a first print run of 20,000 copies and within a month Rebecca had sold more than twice that number."[2] The novel has been continuously in print since 1938 and in 1993 "du Maurier's US publishers Avon estimated ongoing monthly paperback sales of Rebecca at more than 4,000 copies."[2]

In the US, du Maurier won the National Book Award for favourite novel of 1938, voted by members of the American Booksellers Association.[13] In 2003, the novel was listed at number 14 on the UK survey The Big Read.[14]

In 2017, it was voted the UK's favourite book of the past 225 years in a poll by bookseller W H Smith. Other novels in the shortlist were To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and 1984 by George Orwell.[15]

Radio:

The first adaptation of Rebecca for any medium was presented 9 December 1938, by Orson Welles, as the debut program of his live CBS radio series, The Campbell Playhouse (the sponsored continuation of The Mercury Theatre on the Air). Introducing the story, Welles refers to the forthcoming motion picture adaptation by David O. Selznick; at the conclusion of the show he interviews Daphne du Maurier in London via shortwave radio. The novel was adapted by Howard E. Koch.[16]:348

Welles and Margaret Sullavan starred as Max de Winter and the second Mrs. de Winter. Other cast included Mildred Natwick (Mrs. Danvers), Ray Collins (Frank Crawley), George Coulouris (Captain Searle), Frank Readick (the Idiot), Alfred Shirley (Frith), Eustace Wyatt (Coroner) and Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Van Hopper).[17][18] Bernard Herrmann composed and conducted the score, which later formed the basis of his score for the 1943 film, Jane Eyre.[19]:6

Film:

Rebecca has been adapted several times. The best known of these is the Academy Award winning 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film version Rebecca, the first film Hitchcock made under his contract with David O. Selznick. The film, which starred Sir Laurence Olivier as Max, Joan Fontaine as the heroine, and Dame Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers, was based on the novel. However, the Hollywood Production Code required that if Max had murdered his wife, he would have to be punished for his crime. Therefore, the key turning point of the novel – the revelation that Max, in fact, murdered Rebecca – was altered so that it seemed as if Rebecca's death was accidental. At the end of the film version, Mrs. Danvers perishes in the fire, which she had started. The film quickly became a classic and, at the time, was a major technical achievement in film-making.[citation needed]

The 1964 Bollywood Hindi movie Kohra and 2008 movie Anamika were inspired by Rebecca.

Pakistani drama Noor Pur Ki Rani was also inspired by Rebecca. The alterations were made as per the cultural traits. The drama was much appreciated as an attempt to enlighten many aspects of human nature. This drama was aired in the year 2009 on Pakistani drama channel Hum tv .

In 2012, it was reported that [20] a remake/new adaptation of Rebecca is in the works and will be produced by DreamWorks. The script is expected to be written by Steven Knight.[21]

Television:

Rebecca has been adapted for television both by the BBC and by Carlton Television. The 1979 BBC version starred Jeremy Brett as Maxim, Joanna David as the second Mrs. de Winter, and Anna Massey as Mrs Danvers. It was broadcast in the United States on PBS as part of its Mystery! series. The 1997 Carlton production starred Emilia Fox, Joanna David's daughter, in the same role played by her mother in 1979; Charles Dance as de Winter, and Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs. Danvers. It was broadcast in the United States by PBS as part of its Masterpiece Theatre series. The latter adaptation is noteworthy for featuring an appearance by Rebecca, played by Lucy Cohu. It also shows Maxim saving Mrs Danvers from the fire; and finishes with an epilogue showing Maxim and the second Mrs de Winter relaxing abroad, as she explains what she and Maxim do with their days now they are unlikely ever to return to Manderley.

Episode five, series two of the British sketch comedy That Mitchell and Webb Look features a parody of the 1940 film-adaptation of the novel, presented as an early cut of the same. According to the sketch, producer Selznick initially insisted, against director Hitchcock's instructions, that the film contain "a dame called Rebecca." The movie consists of Maxim bringing Rebecca to a Manderley whose master, his servants, and guests constantly remind the first wife of her inferiority to an as-yet-undetermined successor.

Taken from Wikipedia


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I read Rebecca for the first time in 2016 and can very much understand why this novel is considered to be du Maurier's masterpiece. Hoping I recall enough details to participate in the discussion here.

Evidently there is a movie version directed by Alfred Hitchcock, which I have not seen. There is also supposed to be a newer movie version being made, which is currently in production.


message 4: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Lisa A ⛄ wrote: "I read Rebecca for the first time in 2016 and can very much understand why this novel is considered to be du Maurier's masterpiece. Hoping I recall enough details to participate in the discussion h..."

I read Rebecca this year so although I won't be re-reading again I will most certainly join in the discussions.

Yes Lisa, I've added that information above under "films" about the Hitchcock movie. I've never seen it but I did buy the movie. Really need to watch it!

Also, I did hear about the new movie version coming out and that's why people who haven't read the book were rushing to do so!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Same here. I read it just a few months ago. I loved this book. duMaurier's style works really well for me.

I have heard that duMaurier was disappointed in the film. I read a biography of her that spoke a lot about the films made of her stories and how she felt about them.


message 6: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Same here. I read it just a few months ago. I loved this book. duMaurier's style works really well for me.

I have heard that duMaurier was disappointed in the film. I read a biography of her that ..."


Really Kelly? That sounds like an interesting read. What's the book's name/author?


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 31, 2017 12:47PM) (new)

Loretta wrote: " Also, I did hear about the new movie version coming out and that's why people who haven't read the book were rushing to do so! ..."

Awww .... that makes sense. Based on comments/reviews, I plan to wait for the new movie version. :-) Maybe it will be a good one!


message 8: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Lisa A ⛄ wrote: "Loretta wrote: " Also, I did hear about the new movie version coming out and that's why people who haven't read the book were rushing to do so! ..."

Awww .... that makes sense. Based on comments/r..."


I usually like old versions of movies. Remakes make me crazy!!! 😜


message 9: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey I just read this one at the beginning of the year, but I’m definitely excited to read it again!


message 10: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Lydia has graciously agreed to be our discussion leader for Rebecca!!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Loretta wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Same here. I read it just a few months ago. I loved this book. duMaurier's style works really well for me.

I have heard that duMaurier was disappointed in the film. I read a biograph..."


Manderley Forever. It was good.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Thanks Lydia!


message 13: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Same here. I read it just a few months ago. I loved this book. duMaurier's style works really well for me.

I have heard that duMaurier was disappointed in the film. I..."


Thanks Kelly! 😊


message 14: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Okay members! Is everyone ready to start reading Rebecca????

Lydia, you're on!


message 15: by Heather (new)

Heather | 3 comments The ebook version of this has an insane wait time from my library. Will need to have my library order a regular copy from another library. :( Might be a week or so before I can start this one.


message 16: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Heather wrote: "The ebook version of this has an insane wait time from my library. Will need to have my library order a regular copy from another library. :( Might be a week or so before I can start this one."

Don’t worry about it Heather. Start it when you can and let us know what you think!


message 17: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
The book is very popular again because a new movie version is coming out. I had the same problem in the summer when I went to my library for a physical book. I couldn't believe there was a wait list for an old classic! 😊


message 18: by Gini (new)

Gini Found probably the oldest copy of this ever in my local library. Which is seriously under funded BTW. The cover is fraying and the title page says Twentieth Century Classic. Wonder if that was a set once upon a time. I plan on starting this one today barring any unusual events.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... It is such a wonderful book! It is actually one that I hope to buy in a beautiful hard cover one day soon.


message 20: by Gini (new)

Gini Kelly, altho I've just started I can see how this might be one that even I, the anti-romance poster child, might end up liking. Maybe. :)


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Gini wrote: "Kelly, altho I've just started I can see how this might be one that even I, the anti-romance poster child, might end up liking. Maybe. :)"

I also am an anti-romance poster child. I think you will find that this is NOT a romance novel. I hope you like it.


message 22: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments This is an excellent book, and it really presents Du maurier at her finest. I have read it many times.


message 23: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Gini wrote: "Kelly, altho I've just started I can see how this might be one that even I, the anti-romance poster child, might end up liking. Maybe. :)"

Gini, I wouldn't really classify this as "romance' per se; it's more of a Gothic suspense with many jagged edges and elements of subtle of deception and subtle violence.


message 24: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Skye wrote: "Gini wrote: "Kelly, altho I've just started I can see how this might be one that even I, the anti-romance poster child, might end up liking. Maybe. :)"

Gini, I wouldn't really classify this as "ro..."


Exactly! The ‘romance’ at the beginning sets the stage for the suspense.


message 25: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Yes, gasp, yes, Lydia Corey!


message 26: by Gini (new)

Gini I am relieved to hear it's more than I thought. Wondered about the Hitchcock connection.


message 27: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Yes, yes, indeed: I can see that very easily.


message 28: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Lydia Corey wrote: "Skye wrote: "Gini wrote: "Kelly, altho I've just started I can see how this might be one that even I, the anti-romance poster child, might end up liking. Maybe. :)"

Gini, I wouldn't really classif..."


Couldn't agree more Lydia!


message 29: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Gini wrote: "Kelly, altho I've just started I can see how this might be one that even I, the anti-romance poster child, might end up liking. Maybe. :)"

I definitely would not classify this book as "romance", "suspenseful/thriller definitely!


message 30: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Question, has anyone watched a movie based on this book? If so, what did you think? If not, would you?


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I haven't seen the movie made by Hitchcock and won't because apparently it doesn't stick to the book. But they are supposed to be making a new one and I might see it.


message 32: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Lydia Corey wrote: "Question, has anyone watched a movie based on this book? If so, what did you think? If not, would you?"

I bought the Hitchcock movie after I read the book but never watched it. I should just watch it one of these days!

What about you Lydia?


message 33: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Lydia Corey wrote: "Question, has anyone watched a movie based on this book? If so, what did you think? If not, would you?"

They are running a special on PBS this week; I haven't seen it, but I have seen the movie with Joan Fontaine and Sir Laurence Olivier, and it's WONDERFUL, simply wonderful.


message 34: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Kelly wrote: "I haven't seen the movie made by Hitchcock and won't because apparently it doesn't stick to the book. But they are supposed to be making a new one and I might see it."

Kelly the one I just wrote about sticks with the book.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Skye wrote: "Kelly wrote: "I haven't seen the movie made by Hitchcock and won't because apparently it doesn't stick to the book. But they are supposed to be making a new one and I might see it."

Kelly the one ..."


Thanks Skye. Now if I could find it...


message 36: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey I watched the 1997 mini series starring Charles Dance and Emilia Fox. There were a few small discrepancies, but overall they stuck to the book.


message 37: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Kelly wrote: "Skye wrote: "Kelly wrote: "I haven't seen the movie made by Hitchcock and won't because apparently it doesn't stick to the book. But they are supposed to be making a new one and I might see it."

K..."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032976/


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Skye wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Skye wrote: "Kelly wrote: "I haven't seen the movie made by Hitchcock and won't because apparently it doesn't stick to the book. But they are supposed to be making a new one and I mig..."

Thanks. I don't have TV, so I have to find it online.


message 39: by Heather (new)

Heather | 3 comments Kelly wrote: "Skye wrote: "Kelly wrote: "I haven't seen the movie made by Hitchcock and won't because apparently it doesn't stick to the book. But they are supposed to be making a new one and I might see it."

K..."


Thank you. I was looking into the movies done based on this book yesterday and wasn't sure about this version, it seems reviews are poor of the other versions, however, my library has this one available so I might rent it once I finish the book. I find it fun to read a book then watch the movie if I can. Last time I did this with Life of Pi and while my husband didn't read the book (we tend to read different genres), he watched the movie with me and enjoyed it very much.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Am I the only one that is questioning why the heroine of this tale (the Second Mrs. de Winter) doesn't have a first name?


message 41: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Not at all Tiffany!

HOMEWORK HELP > REBECCA
Why does Daphne du Maurier never give the latest Mrs. de Winter a name? She is one of the very few characters in Western literature to have no name. What is the effect on the reader, to never know...
Why does Daphne du Maurier never give the latest Mrs. de Winter a name? She is one of the very few characters in Western literature to have no name. What is the effect on the reader, to never know this important character's name? Does the fact that she has no name make her unimportant, or does her anonymity make her stand out in your mind?

EXPERT ANSWERS

I think other editors are right in emphasising the difference between the narrator and her predecessor and rival, Rebecca. The novel, as suggested by the title, is completely dominated by the presence of Rebecca, and this is something that the narrator cannot seem to fight against. She shows herself to be impressionable and a "blank slate" in terms of her own likes and dislikes. She is not able to assert herself, and merely tries to step into the shoes of Rebecca without any success whatsoever. It would be interesting to consider what a sequel would look like though, as perhaps by the end of the novel the narrator has gained the self-possession and confidence that she lacked when she first met Maxim.


Actually there are many situations where women do not have a personal name in literature, for example the narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. We often assume a woman has a name when actually her identity is given only through her title and her married name. I am sure that Du Maurier was emphasising the fact that the narrator is impressionable and destined to 'become' whomever society moulds her to be. Her title of Mrs De Winter is so alien to her that she puts the telephone down when she is called with the title.

You know, the first time I read the book it didn't even occur to me that Mrs. de Winter didn't have a first name. I think the fact that it is written in the first person makes it less likely that do hear a name. How many of us ever say our own names in regular conversation?


message 42: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Tiffany wrote: "Am I the only one that is questioning why the heroine of this tale (the Second Mrs. de Winter) doesn't have a first name?"

It was done intentionally, I'm sure; Daphne duMaurier's hidden laugh.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I love that she wasnt named, as I felt it enhanced the fact that she saw herself as "less than", that she was so insecure and didn't believe she was as beautiful, good or smart as Rebecca was. And that made it easier to believe that she would be tricked by Mrs Danvers.


message 44: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Tiffany wrote: "Am I the only one that is questioning why the heroine of this tale (the Second Mrs. de Winter) doesn't have a first name?"

I believe it was intentional. This book wasn’t really about the second Mrs. De Winter. It was about the narrator discovering the real Rebecca.


message 45: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments I agree with both of you.


message 46: by WhatIReallyRead (new)

WhatIReallyRead | 371 comments I'm starting it now for the first time. I own 3 more books by du Morier, so hope I like the writing


message 47: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
WhatIReallyRead wrote: "I'm starting it now for the first time. I own 3 more books by du Morier, so hope I like the writing"

I'm sure you'll enjoy her writing and the book Anna! 🤗


message 48: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey WhatIReallyRead wrote: "I'm starting it now for the first time. I own 3 more books by du Morier, so hope I like the writing"

I hope you enjoy! 😊 Du Murier is one of my favorite classical writers.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for answering my question! It's just a little weird to see a heroine with no name. I mean, yes, she's Mrs. De Winter II, but couldn't the other characters call her by name?

Du Maurier isn't a writer that I know very well. I read her collection of stories under the title 'The Doll' a few years ago, but have never checked out the rest of her books until I picked up Rebecca at library book sale.

So far Rebecca is a good book and I am reading my way through it. My main problem though is that every time I see the name de Winter, I think of the Milady de Winter from the Three Musketeers! It's a horrible image, lol. ;)


message 50: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Tiffany, isn't it true that we make connections with the oddest things, but they end up being everlasting.


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