For Thursday, September 8, 2011
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" --First line of the novel Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier
Although I am not into the recent trend of modern vampire stories, I have long loved Gothic literature and when I find a good love story intertwined with Gothic characteristics, I am most happy. As an English teacher, my sharing of works by classic authors such as Daphne duMaurier or modern writers such as Audrey Niffenegger or Diane Setterfield find a place. My students themselves begin to enjoy the stories of creepy castles, mysterious and suspenseful atmospheres, high, even overwrought emotions of the breathless and often lonely oppressed heroines, and the romance of what is often a “first love” experienced in the works.
Although I have seen the movie many times, I find myself absorbed in the watching of the film, year after year. Each time I view it, I find additional subtleties in Oliver or Fontaine’s characterizations and I find new ways to observe the beautiful movie sets. I chuckle over the ways in which the driving scenes would be filmed quite differently given today’s technology and the changes in film-making, and I cannot help but stare in awe at the beauty of Fontaine and the handsomeness of Olivier. I find I have easily memorized much of the story’s dialogue, but I enjoy seeing how my new students are reacting to the 70 year old drama. Pleasingly, they are sad to find their class period ending and are happy to come back next time to finish the movie.
I would love to add my name to the list of contemporary authors who borrow from the Gothic style. I am again reminded it’s time for me to get back to the novel I have begun writing. All these years later, it is amazing that Rebecca continues to serve as such an inspiration for me.