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Daphne Du Maurier, Haunted Heiress Hardcover – Jun 27 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholarly Book Services Inc (June 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812235304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812235302
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 413 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,123,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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All books seem better when I'm not supposed to be reading them. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
Auerbach, a professor of literature at University of Pennsylvania, dazzles the reader with her fascination for the writings of Daphne Du Maurier, the writer unfortunately best known for the so-called Gothic novel, 'Rebecca'and various film adaptations like Hitchcock's 'The Birds' and Roeg's 'Don't Look Now'.
As a young summer camp participant in the early 50s, Auerbach found herself both entranced by Du Maurier's vicious protagonists and repulsed by her label as a 'romantic' writer of escapist woman's fiction. Her analysis of Du Maurier's work vehemently disputes Du Maurier's dismissal by critics; Auerbach finds her male centered stories brimming with fully drawn characters that derive their strength from a violent/murderous reaction to the females who enter their lives. Du Maurier's female narrators (1st person or otherwise) depend upon their omnipotent male counterparts for identity; the so-called romances of Rebecca, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek are not driven by love as they are erroneously depicted in the corresponding movie adaptations, but revolve around the transition of the female acquiescing to the strength of the male and becoming dependent on him for identity and definition. These female protagonists, like Du Maurier, herself, initially possess the characteristics of young boys and only become women by losing their independence. Above all, Auerbach describes Du Maurier's haunted inheritance: the necessity of keeping of her heritage alive as initiated by her grandfather George, author of 'Trilby' and her actor father ,Gerald.

This is not a biography of Daphne Du Maurier, but rather a literary critique of her many novels and fantastic short stories.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Du Maurier - More Than Just Escapist Fiction March 5 2003
By Diana F. Von Behren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Auerbach, a professor of literature at University of Pennsylvania, dazzles the reader with her fascination for the writings of Daphne Du Maurier, the writer unfortunately best known for the so-called Gothic novel, 'Rebecca'and various film adaptations like Hitchcock's 'The Birds' and Roeg's 'Don't Look Now'.
As a young summer camp participant in the early 50s, Auerbach found herself both entranced by Du Maurier's vicious protagonists and repulsed by her label as a 'romantic' writer of escapist woman's fiction. Her analysis of Du Maurier's work vehemently disputes Du Maurier's dismissal by critics; Auerbach finds her male centered stories brimming with fully drawn characters that derive their strength from a violent/murderous reaction to the females who enter their lives. Du Maurier's female narrators (1st person or otherwise) depend upon their omnipotent male counterparts for identity; the so-called romances of Rebecca, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek are not driven by love as they are erroneously depicted in the corresponding movie adaptations, but revolve around the transition of the female acquiescing to the strength of the male and becoming dependent on him for identity and definition. These female protagonists, like Du Maurier, herself, initially possess the characteristics of young boys and only become women by losing their independence. Above all, Auerbach describes Du Maurier's haunted inheritance: the necessity of keeping of her heritage alive as initiated by her grandfather George, author of 'Trilby' and her actor father ,Gerald.

This is not a biography of Daphne Du Maurier, but rather a literary critique of her many novels and fantastic short stories. As it relates to Du Maurier's fiction, Auerbach eludes to Du Maurier's penchant towards lesbianism, citing Margaret Forster's book, "Daphne Du Maurier: The Secret Life of the Renowned Storyteller" as her source. She analyzes the movie adaptations, finding Hitchcock's 'Rebecca', 'Jamaica Inn' and 'The Birds' inferior to the original thoughts as penned by the author, herself.

As I have found myself compelled over the years to reread Daphne Du Maurier's lesser known masterpieces, like 'The House on the Strand', 'The Scapegoat', and 'My Cousin Rachel', I fully understand Auerbach's fascination with the author and the strange almost spellbinding hold she has over her readers. I recommend this book to anyone who has been under the Du Maurier spell and realizes that she is much, much more than just a escapist romance writer. Like Patricia Highsmith, her amoral comments on male/female relationships wickedly define the 20th century.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Long overdue appreciation July 11 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great complement to du Maurier's fiction. Auerbach has written a very personal account of du Maurier's life and its relation to her writing. I liked the intimate tone of the book, as if you were talking to Auerbach over coffee; there is nothing over-blown or haughty. Auerbach's analysis of how du Maurier's stories were (mis-)adapted for film is brilliant, as well as Auerbach's discussion about du Maurier's sexuality and prejudices. Quite enjoyable.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A revealing, absorbing study April 26 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Du Maurier is the author of almost twenty novels, articles, plays, memoirs and short stories; yet is known for a relatively limited handful of popular works. Daphne Du Maurier: Haunted Heiress analyzes her lesser-known volumes and their characters, providing a strong literary analysis of metaphors in her writing, and ethnic and social observations of her choices and times. The result is a revealing, absorbing study.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This Is Not A Biography Aug. 16 2004
By La Pluma - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a biography on Daphne Du Maurier, I would not recommend Haunted Heiress. This is a rambling, free form work of literary criticism. You would do better to check this book out from the library rather than paying the steep price.

You can learn more about the story of Du Maurier's life by doing a web search.

Also, if you are interested in visuals, there are none in Haunted Heiress, save for the cover. The text did conjure up some mental images of Ms. Auerbach, though... (narcissistic, cranky, and snobbish) but none of Daphne Du Maurier.

I did very much appreciate Ms. Auerbach's observations on Du Maurier's affinity for the way men can live their lives, with more freedom and flexibility.

I wish Ms. Auerbach would have done more research on Du Maurier's life and interwoven it with her pop-up thoughts on this book or that.
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HAUNTED HEIRESS - a pretentious work May 4 2000
By Linda Stockham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Although the HAUNTED HEIRESS attempts to instill in the reader the notion that Daphne du Maurier's works do not fall into the "romance" genre, she fails to convenience the reader of this. Even drawing comparisons to du Maurier's grandfather and contrasts to the great Brontës, all is lost in her attempt to move Daphne du Maurier out of this shallow genre and into one of a more academically acceptable category. Her supportive arguments are grotesquely silly and oftentimes clouded by an awkward, pompous writing style.

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