Wide Sargasso Sea

Rhys, Jean

Jean Rhys (rēs), pseud. of Ella Gwendoline Rees Williams, 1894–1979, English novelist, b. Dominica. Her novels written in the 1930s mercilessly exploit her own emotional life, depicting pretty, no-longer-young women who find themselves down and out in large European cities. Without work or funds, her characters must depend on men, chance encounters, or former lovers, for money to buy a hotel room, a drink, a pair of gloves. Rhys's vision is uncompromising and her literary style is spare. These early works include Quartet (1929), After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (1931), and Good Morning, Midnight (1938). After a long retirement she published her masterpiece, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), which drew equally on her own Caribbean childhood and on a reimagining of Charlotte Brönte's Jane Eyre from the perspective of Rochester's mad West Indian wife. It was followed by three short-story collections and Smile Please (1979), the first volume of an autobiography.

See biographies by C. Angier (1990) and L. Pizzichini (2009); F. Wyndham and D. Melly, ed., The Letters of Jean Rhys (1984); studies by T. Staley (1979), P. Wolfe (1980), D. Plante (1983), T. F. O'Connor (1986), N. R. Harrison (1988), M. L. Emery (1990), P. M. Frickey, ed. (1990), P. Le Gallez (1990), C. A. and D. Malcolm (1996), S. Sternlicht (1997), S. Maurel (1998), E. Savory (1998), S. Thomas (1999), C. Dell'Amico (2005), A. B. Simpson (2005), and C. Maslen (2009).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Wide Sargasso Sea: Selected full-text books and articles

Navigating the 'Wide Sargasso Sea': Colonial History, English Fiction, and British Empire By Ciolkowski, Laura E Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 43, No. 3, Fall 1997
Jean Rhys By Elaine Savory Cambridge University Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "People in and out of Place: Spatial Arrangements in Wide Sargasso Sea"
The Daughter's Return: African-American and Caribbean Women's Fictions of History By Caroline Rody Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "Burning down the House: Daughterly Revision in Jean Rhy's Wide Sargasso Sea"
Women in Twentieth-Century Literature: A Jungian View By Bettina L. Knapp Pennsylvania State University Press, 1987
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea: Mother/Dauther Identification and Alienation"
Jean Rhys and the Novel as Women's Text By Nancy Rebecca Harrison University of North Carolina Press, 1988
Librarian's tip: Chap. Eight "The Other Side: 'Rochester's' Narrative in Wide Sargasso Sea"
Edward Rochester and the Margins of Masculinity in 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wide Sargasso Sea.' By Kendrik, Robert Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 30, No. 3, Summer 1994
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