Margaret FORSTER Daphne du Maurier

ISBN 13: 9780701136994

Daphne du Maurier

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9780701136994: Daphne du Maurier
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A definitive exploration of the life of the author of Rebecca reveals many secrets about her turbulent, intensely private life, reviewing her troubled childhood, unfortunate marriage, and sexual ambiguity. 25,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

One of those rare biographies of popular icons--in this case, the author of Rebecca--that puts truth-telling ahead of mudslinging or whitewashing. Authorized to write this life by the Du Maurier family, and drawing on hitherto unpublished letters--including a cache of previously unknown love letters between Du Maurier and actress Gertrude Lawrence--British novelist/biographer Forster (Lady's Maid, 1991; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1989, etc.) reveals a woman who, despite an appearance of happiness, was tortured by fears and disturbing ideas. Born into an illustrious family--her father was a noted actor-manager, her grandfather a celebrated artist and novelist--Du Maurier grew up in a lively London household where friends like J.M. Barrie and Edgar Wallace visited frequently. She was a moody, difficult child: Her mother was cold and aloof, and her father, whose closeness and attention she'd enjoyed as a child, became morbidly possessive as she grew older. Stunningly beautiful yet ill-at-ease in conventional company, Du Maurier was troubled by her awareness ``that there was no escape from being a girl [and that] she had forced herself to lock up in a box the boy she had at heart thought herself to be.'' Sexually attracted to women, she was also distinctly homophobic, a contradiction that would plague her throughout her life. Forster perceptively describes Du Maurier's affair with a lesbian French teacher; her marriage to ``Boy'' Browning, a famous general and subsequent member of the royal household; her relations with her three children; her great love for Gertrude Lawrence; and her writing, particularly Rebecca. Writing, it seems, not only allowed Du Maurier to be the family bread-winner but, more importantly, offered her release from her great ``fear of reality.'' She ``lived to write.'' Biography of the most exemplary kind, and, in its own way, as haunting an evocation of a troubled woman as Rebecca itself. (Thirty-three b&w photographs) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Forster has written novels as well as literary biographies of such luminaries as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and William Makepeace Thackeray, but surely no topic could be more perfect for her considerable talents than the prolific writer Daphne du Maurier. To all appearances, the mature du Maurier, remembered best for Rebecca (1938), but author of no less than 37 books in all, led a placid life. She was married to the same man for many years, had three children, and was devoted to her work, but Forster shows us that, in fact, du Maurier struggled with tumultuous emotions, distressing contradictions, and a lifelong sexual ambiguity. Du Maurier had a complex and damaging relationship with her famous actor/producer father, who repeatedly informed her he wished she'd been a boy, and a less than satisfactory relationship with her mother. Watchful, clever, and calculating, du Maurier managed to bury her love for women for many years, taking refuge from her disappointments in marriage and motherhood in her work. As Forster recounts du Maurier's difficult life, she does a superb job of linking each of du Maurier's books to her mental state at that particular juncture, providing us with extraordinary insights into this often belittled writer's psyche and her energetic battle to "defy reality" with literature. A flawless portrait, fascinating on many levels. Donna Seaman

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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ISBN 10:  0385420684 ISBN 13:  9780385420686
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Margaret FORSTER
Published by Chatto & Windus (1993)
ISBN 10: 0701136995 ISBN 13: 9780701136994
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