du Maurier's Sexuality

Daphne du Maurier had a complicated view of her own sexuality which may have affected her depiction of sexuality in Rebecca.  Du Maurier’s first relationship with another woman was with her French teacher and began when she was 18 (Barber).  She later married a man and had three children, but she began having affairs with women when her marriage began to deteriorate after her husband came back from World War II (Barber).   Du Maurier fell in love with Ellen Doubleday, the wife of her American publisher, and wrote her many love letters, but Doubleday did not return her affections (Barber).   Du Maurier then began a physical affair with Gertrude Lawrence (Barber).  Even though she was attracted to women, du Maurier, was repulsed by lesbians, saying, “If anyone should call that sort of love by that unattractive word that begins with 'L', I'd tear their guts out” (Barber).  Rather, she identified as "a half-breed", or bisexual (Horner and Zlosnik 111).  While du Maurier was ashamed of her unconventional feelings, Rebecca acts on her desires freely and is ultimately punished for them (Horner and Zlosnik 111).

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