Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Daphne and Hampstead

Such is my technical incompetence that I can't link to a piece about "Daphne" in the new Time Out -- which is annoying, because it's extremely informative about the du Mauriers and Hampstead (and nice about my novel, too, for which I am hugely grateful). Anyway, it's by John O'Connell, and I'll copy a bit out here, in case anyone would like to visit the places in London where the du Mauriers lived:

"Most people, quite properly, associate Daphne du Maurier with Cornwall -- specifically Menabilly, the country mansion which she rented for more than 20 years and which became Manderley in her most famous novel, 'Rebecca'. But Daphne was a Londoner in self-imposed exile. She was born in 1907 at 24 Cumberland Terrace in Regent's Park, and lived for most of her childhood in Hampstead at Cannon Hall, the early Georgian mansion bought in 1916 by her father, actor-manager Gerald du Maurier, in an attempt to reclaim the area he'd known as a child: he was born a short walk away at 27 Church Row. Gerald's father was George du Maurier, the writer and Punch cartoonist whose hugely successful 1894 novel 'Trilby' gave us the term 'svengali'.
Daphne was a shy, tomboyish child, not always at ease in the flamboyantly theatrical du Maurier household. She was obsessed to an unnatural degree by her father (her books teem with incest fantasies) but lacked her sisters' closeness to her mother, an actress Gerald met when she was cast opposite him in a production of J.M Barrie's 'The Admirable Crichton'. Instead, she formed close attachments to Cannon Hall's servants, especially her governess, Maud Waddell, or 'Tod'.
Daphne du Maurier is the heroine of Justine Picardie's new novel, 'Daphne', which is why she and I are standing outside Cannon Hall and squinting through the wrought iron gate at the stable block, with its attic windows and tiny clock tower, and the smart cars parked along the drive. Inevitably, someone in the city owns it now."


There's loads more -- and I'm going to send it as a scan to my friends at the BronteBlog and Dovegreyreader, in case they know how to post it. But if they don't, I'll copy out the relevant bits later -- about the graveyard in Hampstead and so on...
Incidentally, Daphne's governess from childhood, Tod, came to live with her at Menabilly, and was very much part of the household -- a kind of governness cum housekeeper. Daphne's husband, Tommy Browning, didn't like her at all, and referred to her as Mrs Danvers. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on that... and of course, I'd like to hear what you think, as always.

8 comments:

HelenMH said...

More mingling of fiction and reality! I love it. Did Tod ever know that Tommy referred to her as Mrs Danvers, I wonder?

Justine Picardie said...

Not sure. One would hope not! But apparently there was quite a lot of tension between Tommy and Tod.

StuckInABook said...

Hi Justine,

Thanks for stopping by my blog, lovely to see you! Would be very nice to say hello tomorrow, but I'm actually out tomorrow evening - I should be able to say hello afterwards... what time do you finish? 10ish? Maybe best to email me about it on simondavidthomas@yahoo.co.uk ? (This all depends on me feeling well enough to do anything tomorrow evening, of course!)

Have just been looking at your Virago post - and couldn't agree more! My favourites are Delafield's Provincial Lady; Edith Oliver's The Love Child (do seek this out); Vita Sackville-West's All Passion Spent; Dodie Smith's I Capture The Castle; Mollie Panter-Downes' One Fine Day... etc. etc....

Oh, and I LOVE Rebecca, one of my favourite books, though the only Daphne du Maurier I have yet read. Karen (at www.cornflower.typepad.com) and myself are embarking on a Reading Daphne Backwards project soon, starting with her last novel and working our way to her first...

By the by, are review copies of Daphne still going out, or should I just buy one?!

StuckInABook said...

p.s. sorry to add to my ramble, but I meant Edith Olivier, not Oliver...

kate450 said...

you may be interested in knowing that i am a great niece of Maud Waddell - known as Tod by Daphne De Maurier. She was also a prolific painter - mainly watercolours.

she also had a sister who lived in Melbourne, Australia who was also a prolific painter, and was Head of the Mathematics department for many years at the church of england girls grammar school in Melbourne.

They had 2 brothers - the youngest being my maternal grandfather - Frederick W Waddell - known as Fred, who emigrated to New Zealand. In late 1925 married my grandmother Dorothy M Patterson(2nd of 8 daughters). They had 3 children, 12 grandchildren and 24 greatgrandchildren at last count.

Carmina said...

don't worry dear blogger, I have been there or I have to say I am there, I don't know so much about all this stuff, that's why I always ask Sildenafil for her and he always gives me a hand!

hugh said...

I am listening to the audio version of your wonderful Daphne book. For people who never seem to have the time to read a book, I can highly recommend this method of "reading" a book. You must have been pleased to have the wonderful Joanna David narrating it too. Many congratulations Justine for your lovely, sensitive book and I will watch your future literary output with great interest.

Carmelo Mason said...

You said the real reason why this novel become none of the most famous, I have never read it but I will do it as soon as I have some vacation of my job in Viagra Canada!