Murdering (M)others



The Flight of the Falcon (1965), although one of du Maurier’s lesser known novels, is perhaps her most ambitious. Set in contemporary Italy, it attempts to contextualize the dynamics of familial relationships within the patriarchal cultural inheritance of Europe. In so doing, it offers the reader a text in which the conventions of Gothic fiction are used self-consciously within a ‘realist’ framework that furnishes constant reminders of the traumatizing effects of World War Two. Those critics of du Maurier who have categorized her as merely a writer of popular fiction expressing a nostalgic yearning for the past, might well find such categorization difficult to apply in relation to this novel.1 Likewise, the recent dismissal of her as ‘an agreeable writer of agreeable fiction but not a serious author’ sounds particularly hollow.2


Short Story Twin Sister Mother Figure Popular Fiction Peasant Woman 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Most notably, Alison Light. See, for example, Alison Light, Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism Between the Wars (London: Routledge; 1991) p. 156.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Oriel Malet (ed.), Daphne du Maurier: Letters from Menabilly — Portrait of a Friendship (London: Weidenfeld amp; Nicolson, 1993) p. 177.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Margaret Forster, Daphne du Maurier (London: Chatto amp; Windus, 1993) p. 337.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    David Punter, The Literature of Terror, Vol.2, The Modern Gothic ([2nd edn] London: Longman, 1996) pp. 183–4.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    Carl Jung, Man and his Symbols (1964; London: Picador, 1978) p. 147.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Luce Irigaray, Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991) p. 100.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (London: Hogarth, 1938).Google Scholar
  8. 24.
    James Monaco, James Pallot and BASELINE, The Second Virgin Film Guide (London: Virgin Books, 1993) p. 220.Google Scholar
  9. 28.
    Mary Russo, The Female Grotesque: Risk, Excess and Modernity (New York and London: Routledge, 1994) p. 7.Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    Margaret Whitford, Luce Irigaray: Philosophy in the Feminine (London and New York: Routledge, 1991) p. 58.Google Scholar
  11. 36.
    Jacqueline Howard, Reading Gothic Fiction: A Bakhtinian Approach (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994) p. 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 37.
    Ann Radcliffe, The Italian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991) p. 318.Google Scholar
  13. 39.
    Marianne DeKoven, Rich and Strange: Gender, History, Modernism (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1991) p. 30.Google Scholar
  14. 41.
    Margaret Whitford (ed.), The Irigaray Reader (1991; Oxford: Blackwell, 1994) pp. 49–50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik 1998

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