Cornish Gothic



For du Maurier, the decision in 1929 to live in Cornwall (at the age of 22) marked a significant stage in her writing career. Until then she had struggled to discipline herself to a life of writing while living as part of the family in London and in these circumstances she had found herself prone to distraction and ennui. Going to live in Ferryside, the house her father Gerald had bought in Bodinnickby-Fowey as a holiday home, seems to have generated a sense of freedom and independence that was to prove very productive. Certainly, in practical terms, the house in Bodinnick offered release from the distractions of family life and the social round of London. While living there she was able to write The Loving Spirit and returned to complete her third novel, The Progress of Julius. As we have already seen, these novels, along with I’ll Never be Young Again, experiment with genre and demonstrate the beginnings of a move towards Gothic writing. Du Maurier’s sense of identification with Cornwall, we shall argue, developed in such a way that this mode became much more predominant, allowing her to give creative shape to transgressive desires. This new phase of her career was to prove very successful and the publication of Rebecca in 1938 consolidated her position as a best-selling author.


Sexual Identity Fairy Tale Metaphorical Expression Historical Romance Gender Boundary 
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Notes and References

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© Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik 1998

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