What genre is Rebecca

Summary of Rebecca

Europe on the eve of World War II

In the 1930s, the European nation-states found themselves in a major crisis. In addition to the political aftermath of World War I, they were particularly hard hit by the global economic crisis that began with the New York stock market crash in October 1929.

The instability of the often still young democratic governments intensified in some cases into conditions similar to civil war, from which authoritarian dictatorships ultimately emerged. As early as 1922 he became the leader of the Fascist Party of Italy, Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister. 1933 took over Adolf Hitler in Germany the Reich Chancellery. Spain, Austria, Greece and many other European states also turned into dictatorships in the course of the 1930s.

The fascist-led states pursued a territorial expansion policy, which the war-weary great powers of Europe and the USA tried to prevent or at least try to contain diplomatically. In 1938 Great Britain started arming again. At the beginning of 1939 the appeasement policy was given up against the aggressive annexation strategy of Germany. The Second World War began in the autumn of the same year.


In fact, work began Rebecca as early as 1932, with du Maurier's marriage to General Frederick Browning. The author was unsure whether her husband still loved his first fiancée. From then on she developed the idea for a novel about jealousy.

When she was published in 1937 by the publisher Victor Gollancz received a contract for three books, she quickly decided to revisit that plan. The rough development already existed: a wife would fall increasingly under the spell of her predecessor. This tension was to discharge in a dramatic revelation. But at this point you Maurier was stuck for a long time. She lacked ideas. She wrote a first manuscript, but rejected it after about 50 pages.

When her husband went to Egypt in the summer of 1937 to command a battalion, she accompanied him. According to the contract, the first novel should be ready by December. But du Maurier still lacked inspiration, she had to put Gollancz off. Homesickness for Cornwall eventually led to the first sketches of the story and, above all, of the novel's dominant location, Manderley. There were two role models for Manderley: one was Milton Hall in Cambridgeshire, which du Maurier knew from her childhood, and the other Menabilly House near Fowey, which had impressed her since her first trips to Cornwall.

Back in England, the author began feverishly to work out the sketches for a novel. Was within just four months Rebecca written down.

Impact history

In August 1938 it was Rebecca published and gave Daphne du Maurier the big breakthrough. Gollancz had a first edition of 20,000 copies printed, but twice as many editions were sold in the first month. The novel eventually won the National Book Award in 1938 for best-selling publication. The great sale gave the author the financial means to lease the Manderley model, Menabilly House. She lived there until 1969.

Even if literary criticism was cool about the novel then as it is now, it is still extremely popular with the reading public. The book has been permanently in print since its publication and has been adapted repeatedly as a film, radio play, theater and musical piece. The first theatrical version of Rebecca was written by Daphne du Maurier himself in 1939. Received in 1941 Alfred Hitchcock, a personal friend of du Maurier's father, won the Oscar in the “Best Film” category for his adaptation of the novel. Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine The de Winter couple played in this first and probably most successful cinema version. Daphne du Maurier himself rated the film as very successful.

Even if in 1993 and 2001 from Susan Hill as Sally Beauman two authorized sequels of the novel hit the market, they could not overtake the original in terms of success and popularity. Received in 2000 Rebecca with the Anthony Award one of the most important US crime prizes. In 2003 the novel was listed by the BBC at number 14 on a list of the most popular British books.