Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 2000
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The novel is a triumph of atmosphere of what one is tempted to call Caribbean Gothic atmosphere It has an almost hallucinatory quality. " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1894. Coming to England aged 16, she drifted into various jobs before starting to write in Paris in the late '20s. After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie was written in 1930. Her early novels, often portraying women as underdogs out to exploit their sexualities, were ahead of their time and only modestly successful. From 1939 onwards she lived reclusively, and was largely forgotten when she made a sensational comeback with Wide Sargasso Sea in 1966. She died in 1979.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this novel, identity is never a simple and stable thing, and this is as true for Rochester as it is for Anoinette and the black servants who work for them. Despite the antagonistic feelings they all have for each other, there is a subtle mirroring taking place, blurring the distinction between "you" and "me", "them" and "us.Read more ›
This book was written as a prequel to Jane Eyre (JE). It focuses on Rochester's first wife, JE's `madwoman in the attic'. In chapter 27 of JE we are given a brief back history of this woman and of how Rochester came to marry her, but this is recounted by Rochester himself: we never get to hear from her, despite her importance in the plot of JE. By contrast, in WSS Jean Rhys makes her the centre of the story as Antoinette Cosway; the name `Bertha' by which she is known in JE is foisted on her, against her will, by Rochester; this is one of several ways in which Rochester appears in WSS as an oppressive and bullying man. After she and Rochester marry she develops some disturbing behaviour symptoms which eventually turn her into JE's `madwoman', but WSS implies that this behaviour is not (as Rochester claims in JE) hereditary but instead is the result of his poor behaviour towards her. The story in WSS takes us through her life from a young girl to her eventual suicide; the bare details of the suicide are recounted in chapter 36 of JE, but WSS provides an explanation based on Antoinette's gathering despair at her treatment and her hopeless predicament.
Writing a prequel or sequel to any famous and widely admired book is bound to annoy some people who fear that the original work is being exploited, or that its themes and characters are being distorted. There is evidence of this in some of the readers' reviews of WSS. The most frequent complaint is from reviewers who object to WSS on the grounds that it turns Rochester from (what they see as) JE's romantic hero into a villain.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an amazing recapturing of Jane Eyre's Bertha, or Antoinette, Mason. Saving the "madwoman in the attic" and letting us see her story. Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Overall I would say this was a difficult and confusing book but probably worth reading. It has two great attributes. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Daisyreader
Tried reading this years ago as a teenager but failed to get the full benefit. Having seen the recent BBC TV drama - and listened to the Radio Four drama - read it again and am... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Dumbledore
I didn't really think that someone could add to what Charlotte Bronte achieved with 'Jane Eyre', however there was one character whom the readership was only given a tantalising... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ged