Wide Sargasso Sea

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1966 - Fiction - 189 pages
629 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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4 stars
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3 stars
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2 stars
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Haunting, with beautiful prose and perfect tragedy. - Goodreads
Not impressed by the story or the writing. - Goodreads
The imagery in this book is amazing. - Goodreads
I found her writing unclear and confusing. - Goodreads
The novel is fairly short and easy to read. - Goodreads
Beautiful, sparse writing style. - Goodreads

Review: Wide Sargasso Sea

User Review  - Lola Allen - Goodreads

I love the fact that Jean Rhys wrote this novel as a response to Charlotte Bronte's portrayal of the madwoman in the attic. She was unhappy with the fact that Creole/Caribbean woman were being ... Read full review

Review: Wide Sargasso Sea

User Review  - Gina Whitlock - Goodreads

A tragic and unforgiving story. A painful childhood with a mother who went insane, then sold into marriage. It's enough to drive a woman crazy. Read full review

All 5 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
13
Section 3
17
Section 4
65
Section 5
177
Section 6
191
Copyright

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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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