Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday, May 28, 2006 11:52 am by M.   1 comment
The Independent publishes an article about Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca with the occasion of the reissue of the Hitchcock movie by the British Film Institute.

The comparisons between Rebecca, more precisely with the nameless second Mrs de Winter, and Jane Eyre are numerous and there are lots of articles written about the subject. We have to remember that both girls are young (21 and 19, respectively), both serving in strange and secluded houses (one as companion to an old woman, the other as governess), both work for a mysterious forty year old men, Maxim de Winter and Mr Rochester, who both hide a dreadful secret. And both houses, Manderley and Thornfield Hall, are finally burnt to the ground. But as Liz Hoggard writes there is more:

"Rebecca, like Jane Eyre, taps into that favourite piece of feminine mythology that the love of a good woman will reform a man," says the psychologist Dorothy Rowe. "And although it's been disproved many times, women still believe it." (...)

"It's such a brilliant book," says the writer Justine Picardie. "You can read it at different stages of your life and pick up on quite different things." Picardie is currently writing a novel inspired by an event in du Maurier's life. And in her latest book, My Mother's Wedding Dress, the essay, "Ghost Dresses", is devoted to clothes in Rebecca. "At literary festivals, that's the chapter women rush up and want to talk to me about it.' (...)

Most remarkably, Rebecca remains the most powerful character in the novel. "The mad woman in the attic or the dead woman at the bottom of the sea is a very old archetype," says Picardie.

We remind our readers that Picardie's book has appeared profusely on this blog, and that Justine Picardie involving with Daphne du Maurier goes beyond this new novel quoted by the article as she is the editor of the most recent edition of Du Maurier's The infernal world of Branwell Brontë and other works by du Maurier. Because du Maurier was also a Brontëite:

[Rebecca] is billed as a romance, but du Maurier insisted she wanted to write about the balance of power of marriage, and not about love. She always said she wanted to retell the story of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and faced accusation of plagiarism when Rebecca was first published.

By the way, did you ever notice that Joan Fontaine played both Jane Eyre and the second Mrs de Winter? and that Laurence Olivier was both Maxim de Winter and Heathcliff? In which other film (or whatever) can you see Jane Eyre kissing Heathcliff?

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1 comment:

  1. Are there any other novels which could be seen as parallel to Jane Eyre and Rebecca?