REBECCA, written by romantic novelist Daphne Du Maurier, is a novel that has captured the imagination of readers since it was first published in 1938.
And now, the gothic classic is being retold in a star-studded Netflix adaptation directed by Ben Wheatley.
Is Rebecca a true story?
Rebecca is not based on true events, but the dark and obsessive nature of its narrator is based in reality.
Du Maurier’s inspiration for her novel Rebecca was actually from her own personal experience.
She had an obsession with her husband, Tommy Browning's former fiancée, Jan Ricardo, after she discovered letters written to him from before she married Tommy.
Du Maurier became convinced that her husband still loved Jan and became obsessively jealous.
The author found and read some old letters from Jan to Tommy, and began to fixate on her husband’s former fiancée.
Is Manderley real?
Manderley is an entirely fictional estate based in Cornwall. The sprawling gothic mansion in the novel acts like a character in the story of Rebecca – as the narrator opens the book: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again".
Although there is no such place as Manderley in reality, it has been observed that Manderley may be based on a country mansion that Du Maurier had coveted since she visited as a young woman.
That house, Menabilly, was an abandoned mansion near Fowey, which Du Maurier was enchanted by.
After years of visiting the house and obsessing over the property – and after the publication of Rebecca – Du Maurier persuaded the owners to lease the house to her.
The descriptions of Manderley in Rebecca seem to very closely replicate Menabilly.
Is it based on Jane Eyre?
Many critics have noted the similarities between Rebecca and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, which was published 100 years prior to Du Maurier's novel.
Rebecca is not explicitly based on Jane Eyre, but Du Maurier may have been influenced by Brontë's novel.
There are certainly similarities between the two novels – both are written inGothic Romance styles.
Both the unnamed narrator of Rebecca and Jane in Jane Eyre have similar voices – they're both anxious and self-deprecating.
Even the two male love interests, Rochester and Maxim de Winter are both brooding and dark characters.
So, although not explicitly related, Rebecca has picked up on many of Jane Eyre's tropes.
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