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Family Gothic

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Abstract

In this chapter we shall examine Daphne du Maurier’s early novels. These works, which concentrate heavily on self and family, show du Maurier’s imagination beginning to engage with the Gothic. Their particular emphases also point to matters which will continue to inform du Maurier’s writing throughout her career: The Loving Spirit (1931) sets up Cornwall as an important and appropriate landscape for her subject matter; I’ll Never Be Young Again (1932) deals with a sexually fragmented subject; The Progress of Julius (1933) explores the ‘other’ through the ‘foreign’. These early works are clear evidence of the author’s interest in the relation between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’, which manifests itself in the later fiction as a doppelgänger or alter ego figure. The ‘difference’ between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ may manifest itself through age, gender, social class, ‘foreignness’, or any combination of these. In Elisabeth Bronfen’s words, ‘For the subject, the function of the other is to reaffirm and guarantee the stability of its position in the world, a sense of self-identity and self-centredness’.1

Keywords

Sexual Desire Sexual Ambivalence Patriarchal Society Masculine Identity Woman Writer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Elisabeth Bronfen, Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992) p. 26.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    William Patrick Day, In the Circles of Fear and Desire: A Study of Gothic Fantasy (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1985) p. 19.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Judith Halberstam, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1995) p. 13.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Janet Todd, Sensibility: An Introduction (London: Methuen, 1986) p. 18.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Margaret Forster, Daphne du Maurier (London: Chatto amp; Windus, 1993) p. 12.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Anne Williams, Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1995) p. 32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 31.
    Alison Light, Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism Between the Wars (London: Routledge, 1991) p. 167.Google Scholar
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    Shoshana Felman, What Does a Woman Want? Reading and Sexual Difference (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993) p. 63.Google Scholar
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    See Jonathan Dollimore, Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) pp. 304–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Lyn Pykett, Engendering Fictions: The English Novel in the Early Twentieth Century (London: Edward Arnold, 1995) p. 67.Google Scholar
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    Bryan Cheyette, Constructions of ‘The Jew’ in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) p. xi.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Julia Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991) p. 181.Google Scholar
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    Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982) p. 180.Google Scholar
  14. 72.
    William Patrick Day, In the Circles of Fear and Desire: A Study of Gothic Fantasy (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1985) p. 5.Google Scholar
  15. 76.
    Alison Light, Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism Between the Wars (London and New York: Routledge, 1991) p. 166.Google Scholar

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© Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik 1998

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