9780241951552

Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Essentials)

Rhys, Jean

ISBN 10: 0241951550 / 0-241-95155-0
ISBN 13: 9780241951552
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: 2011
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
Jean Rhys' spell-binding novel "Wide Sargasso Sea", inspired by Jane Eyre and winner the Royal Society of Literature Award is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. 'There is no looking glass here and I don't know what I am like now...Now they have taken everything away. What am I doing in this place and who am I?' If Antoinette Cosway, a spirited Creole heiress, could have foreseen the terrible future that awaited her, she would not have married the young Englishman. Initially drawn to her beauty and sensuality, he becomes increasingly frustrated by his inability to reach into her soul. He forces Antoinette to conform to his rigid Victorian ideals, unaware that in taking away her identity he is destroying a part of himself as well as pushing her towards madness. Set against the lush backdrop of 1830s Jamaica, Jean Rhys' powerful, haunting masterpiece was inspired by her fascination with the first Mrs Rochester, the mad wife in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. "Compelling, painful and exquisite". ("Guardian"). "Brilliant. A tale of dislocation and dispossession, which Rhys writes with a kind of romantic cynicism, desperate and pungent". ("The Times"). "Rhys turns a menacing cipher into a grieving, plausible young woman, and one whose story says whole worlds about global mixtures, about the misunderstandings between the colonized, the colonizers and the people who can't easily say which they are". ("Time"). Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1890, the daughter of a Welsh doctor and a white Creole mother, and came to England when she was sixteen. Her first book, a collection of stories called "The Left Bank", was published in 1927. This was followed by Quartet (originally Postures, 1928), "After Leaving Mr Mackenzie" (1930), "Voyage in the Dark" (1934) and "Good Morning, Midnight" (1939). None of these books was particularly successful and with the outbreak of war they went out of print. Jean Rhys dropped from sight until nearly twenty years later she was discovered living reclusively in Cornwall. During those years she had accumulated the stories collected in Tigers are Better-Looking. In 1966 she made a sensational reappearance with Wide Sargasso Sea, which won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the W. H. Smith Award. Her final collection of stories, "Sleep It Off Lady", appeared in 1976 and "Smile Please", her unfinished autobiography, was published posthumously in 1979. Jean Rhys died in 1979.

Review:
In 1966 Jean Rhys reemerged after a long silence with a novel called Wide Sargasso Sea. Rhys had enjoyed minor literary success in the 1920s and '30s with a series of evocative novels featuring women protagonists adrift in Europe, verging on poverty, hoping to be saved by men. By the '40s, however, her work was out of fashion, too sad for a world at war. And Rhys herself was often too sad for the world--she was suicidal, alcoholic, troubled by a vast loneliness. She was also a great writer, despite her powerful self-destructive impulses.

Wide Sargasso Sea is the story of Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress who grew up in the West Indies on a decaying plantation. When she comes of age she is married off to an Englishman, and he takes her away from the only place she has known--a house with a garden where "the paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched."

The novel is Rhys's answer to Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë's book had long haunted her, mostly for the story it did not tell--that of the madwoman in the attic, Rochester's terrible secret. Antoinette is Rhys's imagining of that locked-up woman, who in the end burns up the house and herself. Wide Sargasso Sea follows her voyage into the dark, both from her point of view and Rochester's. It is a voyage charged with soul-destroying lust. "I watched her die many times," observes the new husband. "In my way, not in hers. In sunlight, in shadow, by moonlight, by candlelight. In the long afternoons when the house was empty."

Rhys struggled over the book, enduring rejections and revisions, wrestling to bring this ruined woman out of the ashes. The slim volume was finally published when she was 70 years old. The critical adulation that followed, she said, "has come too late." Jean Rhys died a few years later, but with Wide Sargasso Sea she left behind a great legacy, a work of strange, scary loveliness. There has not been a book like it before or since. Believe me, I've been searching. --Emily White

Review

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Rhys, Jean
ISBN 10: 0241951550
ISBN 13: 9780241951552
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Book Description: Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 170 x 110 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Jean Rhys spell-binding novel Wide Sargasso Sea , inspired by Jane Eyre and winner the Royal Society of Literature Award is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. There is no looking glass here and I don t know what I am like now.Now they have taken everything away. What am I doing in this place and who am I? If Antoinette Cosway, a spirited Creole heiress, could have foreseen the terrible future that awaited her, she would not have married the young Englishman. Initially drawn to her beauty and sensuality, he becomes increasingly frustrated by his inability to reach into her soul. He forces Antoinette to conform to his rigid Victorian ideals, unaware that in taking away her identity he is destroying a part of himself as well as pushing her towards madness. Set against the lush backdrop of 1830s Jamaica, Jean Rhys powerful, haunting masterpiece was inspired by her fascination with the first Mrs Rochester, the mad wife in Charlotte Bronte s Jane Eyre. Compelling, painful and exquisite . ( Guardian ). Brilliant. A tale of dislocation and dispossession, which Rhys writes with a kind of romantic cynicism, desperate and pungent . ( The Times ). Rhys turns a menacing cipher into a grieving, plausible young woman, and one whose story says whole worlds about global mixtures, about the misunderstandings between the colonized, the colonizers and the people who can t easily say which they are . ( Time ). Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1890, the daughter of a Welsh doctor and a white Creole mother, and came to England when she was sixteen. Her first book, a collection of stories called The Left Bank , was published in 1927. This was followed by Quartet (originally Postures, 1928), After Leaving Mr Mackenzie (1930), Voyage in the Dark (1934) and Good Morning, Midnight (1939). None of these books was particularly successful and with the outbreak of war they went out of print. Jean Rhys dropped from sight until nearly twenty years later she was discovered living reclusively in Cornwall. During those years she had accumulated the stories collected in Tigers are Better-Looking. In 1966 she made a sensational reappearance with Wide Sargasso Sea, which won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the W. H. Smith Award. Her final collection of stories, Sleep It Off Lady , appeared in 1976 and Smile Please , her unfinished autobiography, was published posthumously in 1979. Jean Rhys died in 1979. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780241951552

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Rhys, Jean
ISBN 10: 0241951550
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Book Description: Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 170 x 110 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Jean Rhys spell-binding novel Wide Sargasso Sea , inspired by Jane Eyre and winner the Royal Society of Literature Award is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. There is no looking glass here and I don t know what I am like now.Now they have taken everything away. What am I doing in this place and who am I? If Antoinette Cosway, a spirited Creole heiress, could have foreseen the terrible future that awaited her, she would not have married the young Englishman. Initially drawn to her beauty and sensuality, he becomes increasingly frustrated by his inability to reach into her soul. He forces Antoinette to conform to his rigid Victorian ideals, unaware that in taking away her identity he is destroying a part of himself as well as pushing her towards madness. Set against the lush backdrop of 1830s Jamaica, Jean Rhys powerful, haunting masterpiece was inspired by her fascination with the first Mrs Rochester, the mad wife in Charlotte Bronte s Jane Eyre. Compelling, painful and exquisite . ( Guardian ). Brilliant. A tale of dislocation and dispossession, which Rhys writes with a kind of romantic cynicism, desperate and pungent . ( The Times ). Rhys turns a menacing cipher into a grieving, plausible young woman, and one whose story says whole worlds about global mixtures, about the misunderstandings between the colonized, the colonizers and the people who can t easily say which they are . ( Time ). Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1890, the daughter of a Welsh doctor and a white Creole mother, and came to England when she was sixteen. Her first book, a collection of stories called The Left Bank , was published in 1927. This was followed by Quartet (originally Postures, 1928), After Leaving Mr Mackenzie (1930), Voyage in the Dark (1934) and Good Morning, Midnight (1939). None of these books was particularly successful and with the outbreak of war they went out of print. Jean Rhys dropped from sight until nearly twenty years later she was discovered living reclusively in Cornwall. During those years she had accumulated the stories collected in Tigers are Better-Looking. In 1966 she made a sensational reappearance with Wide Sargasso Sea, which won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the W. H. Smith Award. Her final collection of stories, Sleep It Off Lady , appeared in 1976 and Smile Please , her unfinished autobiography, was published posthumously in 1979. Jean Rhys died in 1979. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780241951552

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