Anna, 18 and independent both by circumstance and by character, has exchanged the West Indian island of her childhood for the cold, grey island of England, with its narrow streets and narrow rules. She comes to understand a world where people offer you no help unless there's something they want.
The Politics of Location in Works by Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Erminia Dell'Oro
Author: Erica L. Johnson
Pubpsher: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press
Category: Literary Criticism
A comparative study of the highly problematic concept of home in works by authors born and raised in colonial contexts and repatriated as young adults to European homelands which they had never before seen. They write at an angle to nationalist or imperialist constructions of home and create terragraphica, or a place from which to write.
Jean Rhys has long been central to debates in feminist, modernist, Caribbean, British and postcolonial writing. Elaine Savory's study, first published in 1999, incorporates and modifies previous critical approaches and is a critical reading of Rhys's entire oeuvre, including the stories and autobiography, and is informed by Rhys's own manuscripts. Designed both for the serious scholar on Rhys and those unfamiliar with her writing, Savory's book insists on the importance of a Caribbean-centred approach to Rhys, and shows how this context profoundly affects her literary style. Informed by contemporary arguments on race, gender, class and nationality, Savory explores Rhys's stylistic innovations - her use of colours, her exploitation of the trope of performance, her experiments with creative non-fiction and her incorporation of the metaphysical into her texts. This study offers a comprehensive account of the life and work of this most complex and enigmatic of writers.
Colonialism and the Modernist Moment in the Early Novels of Jean Rhys explores the postcolonial significance of Rhys’s modernist period work, which depicts an urban scene more varied than that found in other canonical representations of the period. Arguing against the view that Rhys comes into her own as a colonial thinker only in the post-WWII period of her career, this study examines the austere insights gained by Rhys’s active cultivation of her fringe status vis-à-vis British social life and artistic circles, where her sharp study of the aporias of marginal lives and the violence of imperial ideology is distilled into an artistic statement positing the outcome of the imperial venture as a state of homelessness across the board, for colonized and ‘metropolitans’ alike. Bringing to view heretofore overlooked émigré populations, or their children, alongside locals, Rhys’s urbanites struggle to construct secure lives not simply as a consequence of commodification, alienation, or voluntary expatriation, but also as a consequence of marginalization and migration. This view of Rhys’s early work asserts its vital importance to postcolonial studies, an importance that has been overlooked owing to an over hasty critical consensus that only one of her early novels contains significant colonial content. Yet, as this study demonstrates, proper consideration of colonial elements long considered only incidental illuminates a colonial continuum in Rhys’s work from her earliest publications.
From the master of the wartime espionage novel; a thrilling story of subterfuge at sea May 1941. At four in the morning, a rust-streaked tramp freighter steams up the Tagus river to dock at the port of Lisbon. She is the Santa Rosa, flies the flag of neutral Spain, and is in Lisbon to load cork oak, tinned sardines and drums of cooking oil bound for the Baltic port of Malmo. But she is not the Santa Rosa. She is the Noordendam, a Dutch freighter under the command of Captain Eric DeHaan. She sails for the intelligence division of the British Royal Navy and is involved in a secret mission. On board are a Polish engineer and British spy, Spaniards who fought for Franco and Germans who fought against Hitler. For them, this is a last desperate flight to freedom.
It’s fatal making a fuss ... . -Jean Rhys, Quartet. Cathleen Maslen’s Ferocious Things: Jean Rhys and the Politics of Women’s Melancholia closely engages with the most obvious theme of Rhys’s writing: the speaking and inscription of feminine anguish. Maslen resists easy generalisations with respect to Rhys’s portrayal of women’s psychic pain, attending carefully to the nuances of sexual, cultural and ethnic displacement which inform the suffering of Rhys’s protagonists. Acknowledging the many fine recent critical engagements with Rhys’s unique corpus of novels, Maslen insists that Rhys’s particular articulation of women’s pain presents a significant literary transgression, defying the intractable cultural interdiction against women ‘making a fuss.’ At the same time, this book engages with the problematic privileging of melancholic and nostalgic discourse in the Western canon in general. Rhys’s work, Maslen argues, simultaneously celebrates and resists fundamentally Eurocentric and anti-feminist paradigms of melancholia and nostalgia. In short, the ferocious melancholia of Jean Rhys’s female voices poses constructive paradoxes and points of departure for feminist and post-colonial debates in the 21st century.