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Missing Du Maurier short story uncovered

21st February 2011

A rejected short story by Daphne du Maurier, which was thought to be lost, has been uncovered.

'The Doll' is a macabre tale by the Jamaica Inn author, who made reference to it in her autobiography, but until recently academics had been unable to find it.

However, the work was finally uncovered by Du Maurier enthusiast Ann Willmore, who found it in a 1937 compendium entitled The Editor Regrets alongside four other short stories by the author.

She noted that 'The Doll', which was billed as 'a dark story of obsession and jealousy', has long been the subject of debate among literary historians.

It tells the story of a man who becomes infatuated with a woman named Rebecca. After the protagonist visits her home he finds that she possesses a life-sized mechanical sex doll, which she is obsessed with.

Kits Browning, Du Maurier's son, added: 'It's a very dark and disturbing story for someone who was 21 when she wrote it and from the sort of background she came from. I would have loved to have teased her about it."

'The Doll', along with the four other Du Maurier shorts found in The Editor Regrets, will be published later this year in a new anthology featuring 13 of the author's short stories.

Another literary discovery was made last year when the producers of a documentary about Philip Larkin found a lost notebook containing an unseen poem entitled 'Dear Jake'.

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