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.
Jean Rhys Time-line Biography
Wide Sargasso Sea Reading
Literary Listservs -- jean-rhys-l
Send questions or comments about the Web site to Dr. Seodial Deena,
East Carolina University, Department of English, Multicultural Literature Program.