Jamaica Inn (novel)
|Author||Daphne du Maurier|
|Published||1936 Gollancz (UK)|
Doubleday Doran (US)
Jamaica Inn is a novel by the English writer Daphne du Maurier, first published in 1936. It was later made into a film, also called Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a period piece set in Cornwall in 1820. It was inspired by du Maurier's 1930 stay at the real Jamaica Inn, which still exists as a pub in the middle of Bodmin Moor. The plot follows a group of murderous wreckers who run ships aground, kill the sailors and steal the cargo.
The characters presented throughout the novel include (in order of introduction):
- Mary Yellan, main character
- Mary's parents, who die, causing her to move away
- Joss Merlyn, inn-keeper
- Patience Merlyn, Mary's aunt and wife of Joss
- Jem Merlyn, Joss' younger brother
- Squire Bassat, local squire and Mary's rescuer
- Francis Davey, Vicar
- Hannah, Vicar's housekeeper
- Mrs Bassat, squire's wife
Mary Yellan, 23 years old, was brought up on a farm in Helford. After her mother's death, Mary goes to live with her only surviving relative: her mother's sister, Patience Merlyn, in a coaching inn called Jamaica Inn. Patience's husband, Joss Merlyn, is a local bully, stands almost seven feet tall and is a drunk. On arriving at the gloomy and threatening inn, Mary finds her aunt in a ghost-like state under the thumb of the vicious Joss, and soon realises that something unusual is afoot at the inn, which has no guests and is open to the public only to serve food and drink. She tries to squeeze the truth out of her uncle during one of his benders, but he tells her, "I'm not drunk enough to tell you why I live in this God-forgotten spot, and why I'm the landlord of Jamaica Inn."
Against her better judgement, Mary becomes attracted to Joss's younger brother, Jem, a petty thief, but less brutal than his elder brother. After Mary realises that Joss is the leader of a band of wreckers and even overhears Joss ordering the murder of one of their members, she is unsure whether to trust Jem or not. She turns to Francis Davey, the albino vicar of the neighbouring village of Altarnun, who happened to find Mary when she got lost one day on the moor.
Mary and Jem leave the moors for Christmas Eve and spend a day together in the town of Launceston, during which Jem sells a horse he stole from Squire Bassat back to the squire's unwitting wife. When it comes time to return to Jamaica Inn, Jem leaves Mary to get the jingle, but never returns.[a] Mary has no way to get home except by walking but when she attempts this realises the weather and distance make it impossible. At this point Francis Davey passes her on the road in a hired coach and offers her a lift home. He leaves the coach at the crossroads to walk to Altarnun. The coach is then waylaid by her uncle's band of wreckers and the coach driver is killed. Mary is forced to go along with the wreckers and has to watch as they 'wreck' - tricking a ship into steering itself on to the rocks and then murdering the survivors of the shipwreck as they swim ashore.
A few days later, Jem comes to speak with Mary, who is locked in her room at the inn. With Jem's help, Mary escapes and goes to Altarnun to tell the vicar about Joss's misdeeds but he isn't at home. She then goes to the squire's home and tells his wife her story but Mrs Bassat tells Mary that her husband already has the evidence to arrest Joss and has gone to do so. Mrs Bassat has her driver take Mary to Jamaica Inn, where they arrive before the Squire's party. Mary goes inside and finds her uncle stabbed to death; the squire and his men arrive soon thereafter and discover Patience similarly murdered.
The vicar arrives at the inn, having received a note Mary left for him that afternoon and offers her refuge for the night. The next day, Mary finds a drawing by the vicar; she is shocked to see that he has drawn himself as a wolf while the members of his congregation have heads of sheep. The vicar returns and tells Mary that Jem was the one who informed on Joss. When he realizes that she has seen the drawing, the vicar reveals that he was the true head of the wrecker gang and responsible for the murders of Joss and Patience. He then flees the vicarage, taking Mary as his hostage. The vicar explains that he sought enlightenment in the Christian Church but did not find it and instead found it in the practices of the ancient Druids. As they flee across the moor to try to reach a ship to sail to Spain, Squire Bassat and Jem lead a search party that closes the gap, eventually coming close enough for Jem to shoot the vicar and rescue Mary.
Mary has an offer to work as a servant for the Bassats, but instead plans to return to Helford. One day as she walks on the moor, she comes across Jem, leading a cart with all of his possessions, headed in the opposite direction. After some discussion, Mary decides to abandon her plans to return to Helford to go with Jem.
- A film adaptation of the novel was produced in 1939, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara. The film differs from the book in some respects, with Francis Davey being replaced by Sir Humphrey Pengallan (Laughton). Du Maurier was not enamoured of the film.
- An eponymous ITV television series aired in 1983. Starring Jane Seymour, Trevor Eve, Billie Whitelaw and Patrick McGoohan, this adaptation was nearer the original story than was the Hitchcock film.
- Jamaica Inn is an adaptation of the novel for BBC One, first broadcast from 21 to 23 April 2014, starring Jessica Brown Findlay, Matthew McNulty and Sean Harris.
BBC Radio full cast adaptations:
- 1939, adapted by Peter Stucley and produced by Michael Goodwin.
- 1947, in five episodes, adapted by Jonquil Antony and produced by Ayton Whitaker.
- 1950, in five episodes, adapted by Jonquil Antony and produced by Norman Wright.
- 1966, in five episodes, adapted by Jonquil Antony and produced by Norman Wright.
- 1975, in four episodes, adapted by Brian Gear and produced by Brian Miller.
- 1983, adapted by Barry Campbell and directed by Derek Hoddinott. [unconfirmed]
- 1984, in four episodes, adapted by Brian Gear and directed by Brian Miller.
- 1991, in four episodes, adapted by Michael Bakewell and directed by Enyd Williams.
- 2003, in four episodes, adapted by Michael Bakewell.
- 2015, in 10 episodes, adapted by Sue Allen and produced by Rob Carter.
BBC Radio serialised solo readings:
- 1946, in 20 episodes, read by Howard Marion-Crawford.
- 1977, in 12 episodes, abridged and read by Delia Paton.
- 1996, in 10 episodes, read by Jenny Agutter and produced by Jane Marshal.
- 1983, Music for Pleasure abridged recording by Trevor Eve, the same year he starred in the ITV TV adaptation. Only issued on cassette.
- 1992, Chivers Audio Books unabridged recording by Tony Britton. Originally issued on cassette, then in 2007 on MP3 by Audible
- 1993, Random House Audiobooks abridged recording by Josie Lawrence, only issued on cassette.
- 2004, Hodder Headline Audiobooks abridged recording by Samantha Bond, issued on cassette and CD.
- The first known stage adaptation of Jamaica Inn was scripted by Trevor Hedden and performed on tour by the Orchard Theatre Company in 1985. A second adaptation, by David Horlock, was first performed at Salisbury Playhouse in 1990.
- An adaptation by John King was performed at the Regent Centre in 1993 and was to be performed again in February 2009.
- There is a 2004 stage adaptation of Jamaica Inn by Lisa Evans, which has been performed as recently as 26 May 2007 at Newcastle-Under-Lyme's New Vic theatre, with Juliette Goodman starring in the lead role of Mary Yellan.
In popular culture
- The track "Jamaica Inn" on singer Tori Amos's 2005 album The Beekeeper is a song about "a man and a woman falling out"; it references the du Maurier novel and the wreckers of north Cornwall.
- In a 12 June 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Neil Peart of the rock band Rush described how the theme of the wreckers plays throughout the band's 2012 studio release Clockwork Angels.
- The track "A Smuggler's Tale" from the album Albion of the British Melodic Hard Rock band Ten is based on the novel.
- "Jingle" was a west-of-England term for a form of two-wheeled, horse-drawn tub cart or dray in common use in the nineteenth century.
- Paschke, Jean (March 2007). "The Cornwall of Daphne du Maurier". British Heritage. Weider History Group. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- Oxford English Dictionary, 'jingle':4
- Duguid, Mark. "Jamaica Inn (1939)". filmonline. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- Theatre of Romance program log at Digital deli
- GOOD EVENING: Alfred Hitchcock on Radio by Charles Huck and Martin Grams, Jr.
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1939)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1947)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1947)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1950)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1966)
- BBC Genome #1: Jamaica Inn (1975)
- BBC Genome #2: Jamaica Inn (1975)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1983)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1984)
- BBC Genome #1: Jamaica Inn (1991)
- BBC Genome #2: Jamaica Inn (1991)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (2007)
- BBC #1: Jamaica Inn (2015)
- BBC #2: Jamaica Inn (2015)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1946)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1977)
- BBC Genome: Jamaica Inn (1977)
- Amazon Audible: Jamaica Inn (2007)
- 'Data Stage: Production News', The Stage 16 May 1985, p.23.
- 'Regional Reviews: Jamaica Inn', The Stage 28 June 1990, p.31.
- "Jamaica Inn 1993 and 2009". Archived from the original on 11 February 2009.
- Orme, Steve. "Jamaica Inn". The British Theatre Guide. Peter Lathan. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- Orloff, Brian (31 March 2005). "Musings of a musical maverick". St. Petersburg Times. Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- Greene, Andy (12 June 2012). "Q&A: Neil Peart on Rush's New LP and Being a 'Bleeding Heart Libertarian'". Rolling Stone Magazine. Jann Wenner. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- [issuu.com/rickpalin/docs/issue_25/1?e=0 Firebrand Magazine Review]