“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.”
—Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, opening lines
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier’s novel of a second wife’s jealousy of her predecessor—widely accepted to be a modern classic—was an immediate bestseller on first publication and has since been adapted for the screen several times, most famously by Alfred Hitchcock. To mark the Netflix release of a new adaptation, starring Lily James and Kristin Scott Thomas, we spoke to Dr Laura Varnam, lecturer in English literature at University College, Oxford, about what is probably du Maurier’s most famous book.