Wide Sargasso Sea Rhys, J. July 1999

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.

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