Wide Sargasso Sea

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1966 - Fiction - 189 pages
113 Reviews
Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontė's Jane Eyre.

A sensual and protected young woman, Antoinette Cosway grows up in the lush natural world of the Caribbean. She is sold into marriage to the coldhearted and prideful Rochester, who succumbs to his need for money and his lust. Yet he will make her pay for her ancestors' sins of slaveholding, excessive drinking, and nihilistic despair by enslaving her as a prisoner in his bleak English home.

In this best-selling novel Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.
 

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User Review  - laytonwoman3rd - LibraryThing

This compelling short novel creates a very plausible back story for Bertha Mason Rochester, the "mad woman in the attic" of Jane Eyre's Thornfield Hall. Born Antoinette Cosway, and re-named "Bertha ... Read full review

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User Review  - Ameise1 - LibraryThing

A great story about a young Kreolin, who lives in her dream world, so she can survive, because she lives all her life just against evil. She is growing up when slavery has been banned. She belongs ... Read full review

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Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
13
Section 3
17
Section 4
65
Section 5
177
Section 6
191
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About the author (1966)

Jean Rhys, 1890 - 1979 Writer Jean Rhys was born in Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. Her father was a Welsh doctor and her mother was a Dominican Creole. Her heritage deeply influenced her life as well as her writing. At seventeen, her father sent her to England to attend the Perse School, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Unfortunately, she was forced to abandon her studies when her father died. Rhys worked as a chorus girl and ghostwrote a book on furniture. During World War I, she volunteered in a soldier canteen and, in 1918, worked in a pension office. In 1919, she went to Holland and married the French-Dutch journalist and songwriter Jean Langlet. They had two children, a daughter and a son who died as an infant. She began writing under the patronage of Ford Madox Ford. Her husband was sentenced to prison for illegal financial transactions. Her affair ended badly with Ford, and her marriage ended in divorce. In 1934, she married Leslie Tilden Smith who died in 1945. Two years later, she married Max Hamer who died in 1966. Rhys lived many years in the West Country, most often in great poverty. In 1927, Rhys' first collection of stories, "The Left Bank and Other Stories," was published. Her first novel, "Quartet" (1928), is considered to be an account of her affair with Ford Madox Ford told through Marya, a young English woman. In "Voyage in the Dark" (1934), the character is a young chorus girl involved with an older lover. She has also written "Good Morning, Midnight" (1939) and "Sleep It Off Lady" (1976) and the internationally acclaimed "Wide Sargasso Sea" (1960). Rhys was made a CBE in 1978 and received the W.H. Smith Award, the Royal Society of Literature Award and an Arts Council Bursart. Rhys died on May 14, 1979 in Exeter. In the same year, her unfinished autobiography "Smile Please" appeared.

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