Haunted Romance and Haunted Houses: Rebecca (du Maurier, 1938), The Haunting of Hill House (Jackson, 1959)

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


Two pivotal twentieth-century ghost stories, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, each have protagonists haunted by culturally constructed notions, dreams of romance, in grand Gothic houses, the unstable fabric of which reflect the instability of self and of such insubstantial dreams. Rebecca rewrites nineteenth-century and popular text and screen romances, exposing their lies of love solving all, marriage as rescue, safety, security, eternity, wrapped in a comfortable home offering inheritance, wealth, glamour, adoration and something glitzy. In Rebecca, for the unnamed second wife haunted by the lingering presence of her glamorous predecessor, the grand home’s romance and security, with the ideal husband, are both promise and the death of that promise in this novel of partying and place, set in the last days of a blind era of indulgence between the wars. In The Haunting of Hill House, Hollywood promise of grand Gothic houses and journeys ending in lovers meeting lure Eleanor, escaping the sideline role as spinster aunt, to an experiment in a weekend party of guests. Instead of escaping dreams, damage, lies and demons, she brings the darkness of self and soul. The house will not let her go once it has her.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Women's Ghost Stories
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9783030890544
ISBN (Print)9783030890537
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Gothic
ISSN (Print)2634-6214
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6222

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cultural Studies


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