Jean Rhys
Dominica
1890-
 
 
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Biography

Jean Rhys was born  August 24, 1890 in Roseau, Dominica to a Creole mother and a Welsh-born doctor. As a white girl in a predominantly black community, Rhys felt socially and intellectually isolated. In 1907 she left the island for schooling in England, returning only once, in 1936. Although Rhys's attitude to her birthplace remained ambivalent throughout her life, the Caribbean shaped her sensibility. Rhys's Dominican background is important to her works, playing a part in both her longer fictions like Voyage in the Dark, and in short stories such as "The Day they Burned the Books." Rhys identified with the Negro community in her childhood, and indeed throughout her life, although she came to realize  her world could never align itself with that of her nursemaid, Meta, and other Negro mentors. Rhys's early life paralleled that of other postcolonial writers who have felt themselves betrayed by the reality of Britain; it was only when she was in her seventies that she found a social niche in England.
 

Works
  • Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)
  • Tales of the Wide Carribean (1985)
Links

Jean Rhys Time-line Biography
http://www.qub.ac.uk/english/imperial/carib/rhysbio.htm

Wide Sargasso Sea Reading Group Guide
http://www.wwnorton.com/rgguides/sargassorgg.htm

Literary Listservs -- jean-rhys-l
http://www.andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Lit/Lists/20th/jean-rhys-l.html
 


Send questions or comments about the Web site to Dr. Seodial Deena
East Carolina University, Department of English, Multicultural Literature Program.