June 8, 2007

Venice or Cairo? Ask Your Travel Agent--or Just Roll the Dice

Forster writes, in a new, revised edition released as part of the centenary of Daphne du Maurier's birth, 100 years ago today, that du Maurier's children still find their mother's bisexuality hard to accept. Perhaps the fact that du Maurier kept it hidden for so long, however, is not surprising, since she was a secretive woman who struggled to understand it herself. She describes sexual feelings evasively, using code words and euphemisms, "the L word" being but one example. An attractive person she termed "a menace" (note the suggestion of threat); foreplay was "spinning", to have sex was "to wax", sex with men was "Cairo", sex with women "Venice". She wouldn't name things by their name. In one of her later letters to Doubleday, though, she admits that she preferred "Venice" to "Cairo", because she felt more confident with it.