Never out of print, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is loved for its opening line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” It is a timeless combination of romance, jealousy, intimidation, mystery & death. First published in 1938 it was an immediate hit and sold nearly 3 million copies between 1938 and 1965. Ultimately, there are a lot of secondhand editions out there. It has been translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, German, Portugese, Spanish, Persian, Hungarian, Romanian, Polish, Greek, Latvian, Dutch and Czech. That’s quite a list.
This first UK edition [above right] comes with a Menabilly headed letter from du Maurier which briefly discusses her Christmas and New Year, and is signed ‘Yours sincerely, Daphne du Maurier’. Rare, it is for sale [at time of going to press] by John Atkinson Books for £2,750.
A naïve young woman marries wealthy older widower Maxim. When he takes her to his home, Manderley, the unnamed narrator, the young wife, learns about the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca. Housekeeper Mrs Danvers continually tries to undermine the second Mrs de Winter, showing her contempt for the young woman, her inefficiency, her mousiness, her naivety. Believing Maxim still loves Rebecca, the new wife is encouraged by Mrs Danvers to wear a replica of one of Rebecca’s dresses to a costume ball.
The best known film adaptation of Rebecca is the 1940 movie starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca won 11 Oscar nominations and won two – for Best Picture and Cinematogrophy. Watch the trailer here.
Various television adaptations include the 1979 BBC production [above] starring Jeremy Brett as Maxim, Joanna David as the second Mrs de Winter, and Anna Massey as Mrs Danvers. Watch the first episode here.
In 1997, a Carlton Television production [below] cast Joanna David’s daughter, Emilia Fox, as the second Mrs de Winter, with Charles Dance as Maxim and Diana Rigg as Mrs Danvers.
Read here why Rebecca is the ‘Porridge & Cream’ comfort read of novelist Jane Lambert.
‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier [UK: Virago]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier #oldbooks https://wp.me/p5gEM4-39q via @SandraDanby