Talk:Daphne du Maurier

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Page oddity[edit]

There's an oddity at the bottom of this page which I thought I'd removed, but it keeps resurfacing - anyone else able to clip it off? StoneColdCrazy 20:37, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Do you mean the wiggy date? I think that was vandalism. I removed. David Hoag 23:59, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Du or du?[edit]

Is it "Du Maurier" or "du Maurier"? -- Zoe

On most of her book covers, it's mostly "du Maurier" (when it's not in all caps or DAPHNE du MAURIER), but at least one (early one) reads Du Maurier. It's "du Maurier" in Stanley Vicker's The du Maurier Companion, and in Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia. Capitalization of particles in surnames often depends on a style guide, but it looks like du Maurier has the edge. -- Someone else 01:32 May 9, 2003 (UTC)
FWIW, I have a 1971 hardback of Frenchman's Creek, wherein she's "Daphne du Maurier" on some pages and "Daphne Du Maurier" on others within the same book. Obviously, the publisher's pruufreeder was asleep at the switch. David Hoag 23:59, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Her family is French. In the French language the du or de, or le or la or de la, are all small cap. No exceptions. And, even names of months are not capitalized in French. Check out French movies. First word is a capital, the rest are small caps. Jacques Delson
By "small caps", do you mean "lower case"? To me, "small caps" sounds like "small capitals", which are of course capitals ("upper case"). -- Oliver P. 03:40 May 9, 2003 (UTC)
Sorry, my brain is thinking sports not language. It is indeed "lower case". Thank you for pointing out my mistake. Jacques Delson
Okay, just checking. :) -- Oliver P. 20:51 May 10, 2003 (UTC)
What Jacques says is true, but no longer applies when a name has been anglicised. It's the librarian's nightmare - do we put her under "D" or under "M"? If it were a small "d" in "du", she would be under "M", but she is usually found under "D". But here I guess it doesn't matter, as long as we can find her. Deb 11:57 May 11, 2003 (UTC)
Having seen many of her original letters, I can say quite categorically that she herself wrote it "du Maurier". -- Necrothesp 12:45, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Cornish[edit]

She is defined as a "Cornish" novelist, even though she was born in London and was of French descent, presumably because her books are mainly set in Cornwall, she lived in Cornwall and was involved in Cornish politics (i.e. Mebyon Kernow). I am English but I live in Germany. Even if I wrote books set in Germany and became involved in German politics, I don't believe people would then refer to me as 'German'.Eorake 13:37, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

Well, it really depends on where you associate with I suppose. I was born in Surrey, of a family with its roots solidly in London, but I grew up in Cornwall, and I very definitely regard myself as Cornish (and also as English, since I'm not a Cornish nationalist). -- Necrothesp 12:54, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
History is full of nationalists with tenuous connections to the nation whose cause they adopt. Stalin, Napoleon, De Valera, Hitler, etc. A phenonemon referred to by Orwell as I think "transferred nationalism". Exile 21:24, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Reads like a stub[edit]

There's no comprehensive info on the author. One can't get an idea of what her writings are like by reading this article. 13:08, 6 June 2006 (UTC) A reader

Subconscious sexism in article[edit]

I was a little surprised to see such a classic example of sexism in the article. 'Though literary snobs have often berated Du Maurier's writings for not being 'intellectually heavyweight' in the way that George Eliot's or Iris Murdoch's are...' A woman author is only being compared with other woman authors! du Maurier is a women first and an author second! Why not a heavyweight female author and a heavyweight male author, after all there ARE more male heavyweight authors in the 19th/early 20th centuries. Unless anyone objects I'll change one of the authors to Thackery or something (or can someone suggest a male contempory).

I know this can be a touchy issue and some people may see my suggestion as reverse discrimination, or unneccesarily touchy/militant, but I think this is an important, if subtle, point. ChristineD 01:22, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Sex & sexism: in defence of the evidence[edit]

On sifting through the large body of writing on the life of du Maurier, including letters, biographies and newpapers articles, we knew that the subject of her complex sexuality, first brought to the world's attention by her official biographer after her death, would be a contentious topic. We have attempted to address this issue with both candour and brevity but are aware that not everyone will agree with the views stated here. However, what no-one can deny is what Daphne du Maurier herself said (albeit opaquely) on the subject; she referred to a masculine energy in her psyche, what she called her "boy-in-the-box",and this was the side of her which gave her inspiration for her writing; an outlet for the realm of fantasy. This "boy-in-the-box" was infatuated with the unobtainable Ellen Doubleday and had his amorous attentions returned by Gertrude Lawrence. Yet where we have written that she in no way saw herslf as a Lesbian (and would have been appalled to have entertained the suggestion)is in no way a veiled piece of homophobia: our comments have been erased on this issue several times but that is unfair, both by the prudes who deny her the rich and colourful emotional life that she unequivocally had, and the Gay Lobby who wish to bring her into the fold.

Du Maurier was a complex character, not only on the topic of sexuality but on many issues. Though she had several homosexual friends in her life, it appears to have been a case of "something that should happen to other people, other families" . She was terrified that her spoiling of her son Christian would make him gay and chose to ignore homosexuality elsewhere if it appeared too close to home. She was, after all, a product of Edwardian society, and her views were shared by virtually the entire populace; since the civil rights movements of the 1960's we have all perhaps progressed some way towards enlightenment.

In reply to certain comments concerning purported sexism: we have mirrored only the opinions of the critics from the back-catalogue of reviews that we were able to source. Reviews of her early novels compare them to the likes of Treasure Island but once the sensation that was Rebecca had hit the public's consciousness and the comparison had been drawn with the novels of the Bronte sisters, du Maurier was set firmly in the cast of Romantic Novelist. After all, the literary establishment was, like most of the old orders, a glorified boy's club, and du Maurier recognised this. Certainly compare her to whosoever you wish to nowadays, either male or female, but remember that historically she has always been termed a "writer for women". We wholeheartedly agree that that is both an antiquated and offensive description and that she was a significant and important writer, regardless of gender. Far from a sexist put-down, we actually compare her with the gentleman Wilkie Collins: surely a comparison any writer would kill for? MARC & NATASHA Ygrasil 02:14, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Since du Maurier believed she was not a lesbian, and her close friends and family (including her husband) also believed she was not, and no definite evidence exists that her adolescent crush on Gertrude Lawrence or relationships with any other woman ever had a physical component, I think it makes sense to assume du Maurier was heterosexual. Indeed, what's strangely and sadly Edwardian is her assumption that some mental "masculine energy" wrote her books. Her books were written by an active, passionate female energy that was not fully acknowledged in her time.

One biographer suggested that the fact that du Maurier's marriage was sometimes "chilly" and discontented was evidence of her bisexuality. Of course it proves no such thing (I think everyone who's reading this knows of numerous chilly marriages between heterosexual spouses!) What it suggests is that she was married to the wrong man, not necessarily the wrong sex. Younggoldchip (talk) 14:40, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

It seems fairly clear to me that the bisexual speculation was just that - speculation on the part of her biographer, and anything that treats it as anything other than that should do so with extreme care. I think we have yet to see any cast iron proof that she had anything more than a crush on the various women listed here. So to have a whole section entitled 'Secret sexual selationships' seems unfair when there is actually no evidence of any relationship. Reference of course should be made to the allegations about her sexaulity, but couldnt that be done in the personal life section? Sentences like: 'After her death in 1989, numerous references were made to her secret bisexuality; an affair with Gertrude Lawrence, as well as her attraction for Ellen Doubleday, the wife of her American publisher, were cited.' are especially unclear. Can you really treat all these things as fact in this kind of forum? (talk) 14:32, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the "Secret Sexual Relationships" section should be removed. It's sloppy titillation, pure speculation and psychobabble on the part of biographer Margaret Forster. Even the beginning of the quote, "references were made to her secret bisexuality," is unworthy of a factual narrative. References were made? By whom, and with what evidence? All the sudden a more or less scholarly article becomes the National Inquirer. For shame. Younggoldchip (talk) 15:45, 27 April 2013 (UTC)


I added a references tag to the top of this article, and also tagged the statements which need citations with {{fact}}. There are some references at the bottom, but (IMO) each of the marked statement needs direct citations (e.g. Du Maurier was suspected to be a lesbian according to ...). -Elizabennet | talk 18:50, 20 May 2007 (UTC)


We have started work on the citations, but precise reference to chapter and verse may take some time...if anyone would like to help then please feel free. For example, reference to her popularity at the library was mentioned by some papers in their obituaries, but it will take a while to go back through our cuttings. Patience please, and thankyou!

Original research tag[edit]

The "personal life" section is well-cited and sourced. However, these passages:

However, this is perhaps too simplistic an explanation: a childhood brought into contact with the theatrical and artistic people of her parents' circle, many of whom were homosexual, should have meant for a liberal atmosphere. Yet strangely for a man in his profession, her father was vociferously homophobic. ... One can best try to understand this if one looks to those novels such as The Scapegoat or The House on the Strand, written in the first person and as men, and being utterly convincing

stray considerably into original research. If they're what Forster or Thornton says, they need to be more clearly attributed to them. If they're the editor or editors' opinion, they need to be somewhere else than this article. Daniel Case (talk) 22:31, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Why does...[edit]

... her personal life need to be mentioned first, before her works? She was best known (to the general public) as a novelist and playwright, not as a wife and mother or for her alleged lesbian affairs. Katie1971 ( Let's talk!! ) 15:05, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Du Maurier is famous for her writings, not her personal life. Thus, the writings should take up most of this article! I also agree with younggoldchip (earlier in TALK above) who comments on Du Maurier's alleged bisexuality. This possible but (to date) unproven part of her life deserves only a brief mention. Thus, I hope someone can bring this article closer to scholarly standards by devoting the major article space to Ms. Du Maurier's writings.Lindisfarnelibrary (talk) 00:24, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Du Maurier Close?[edit]

In Hampshire, England there is a road directly named after her, Du Maurier Close. Should this be mentioned? I can confirm, I live there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:06, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Not unless it is based on part of her life that happened in the area. Lists of things named after famous people should be kept to the minimum.--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 09:46, 16 April 2010 (UTC)


The article indicated by the reference 8, in Portuguese, says exactly the opposite to the text in this section.

What is written in Ptguese is: "Carolina Nabuco afirma que quando estreou no Brasil o filme de Hitchcock, o representante da United Artists quis que ela assinasse um documento em que se lia que todas as semelhanças seriam mera coincidência. Naturalmente, a escritora brasileira se negou."

Translation: "Carolina Nabuco states that, when Hitcocck's movie was first shown in Brazil, United Artists wanted her to sign a document saying that all the similarities were merely a coincidence. Naturaly, the Brazilian writer refused to sign it."

Was someone deliberately dishonest in interpreting the text, or merely ignorant of the language? --Betty VH (talk) 13:20, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Out of fashion[edit]

'Literary critics have sometimes berated du Maurier's works for not being "intellectually heavyweight" like those of George Eliot or Iris Murdoch... By the 1950s, when the socially and politically critical "angry young men" were in vogue, her writing was felt by some to belong to a bygone age.'

These two statements do not seem connected. The angry young men were certainly not wanting intellectually heavyweight literature.

Are you just making the point that she kept going out of fashion? Valetude (talk) 19:51, 9 September 2013 (UTC)


The Wiki article on her husband Frederick Browning sheds much more light on the nature of their relationship, and this ought to be replicated here. That article also refers to her own admitted wartime affair (citation quoted), but does not name the other person. Unless that person is still living, I would have thought that it could be revealed here, since this article devotes a section to her secret relationships. Valetude (talk) 20:04, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

"most recently" as wording to avoid using.[edit]

Quoting from the "Plays" section of the article: "Since then, September Tide has received occasional revivals, most recently at the Comedy Theatre in London in January 1994, ..."

When I read that I wondered "how on earth would we know that the most recent revival was in 1994?"

I checked and found this review of a production that toured in 2007.

Not a big deal but in the interest of accuracy we should probably avoid wordings such as the above "most recently at the ..."

CBHA (talk) 01:57, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Daphne du Maurier/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Rated as Start class:
  • Some biographical information, but could be expanded
  • No photograph
  • A few general references present, but specific statements need referencing
  • Little discussion of works & no list of works
Espresso Addict 23:37, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 23:37, 2 February 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 12:49, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

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