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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $16.00
  • November 1998
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-96012-9
  • 270 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide excluding Canada and the British Commonwealth.

Wide Sargasso Sea

Norton Critical Editions


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Jean Rhys (Author), Judith L. Raiskin (Editor, University of Oregon)


Written over the course of twenty-one years and published in 1966, Wide Sargasso Sea, based on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, takes place in Jamaica and Dominica in 1839–45.

Textual notes illuminate the novel’s historical background, regional references, and the non-translated Creole and French phrases necessary to fully understand this powerful story. Backgrounds includes a wealth of material on the novel’s long evolution, it connections to Jane Eyre, and Rhys’s biographical impressions of growing up in Dominica. Criticism introduces readers to the critical debates inspired by the novel with a Derek Walcott poem and eleven essays.


    List of Illustrations


    The Text of Wide Sargasso Sea

    1. Introduction by Francis Wyndham
    2. Wide Sargasso Sea


    1. Rachel L. Carson – [The Sargasso Sea]
    2. Charlotte Brontë – From Jane Eyre
    3. [Jane Eyre and Bertha]
    4. [The Ruined Wedding]
    5. [Rochester’s Story]
    6. [Fire at Thornfield Hall]
    7. Jean Rhys – Selected Letters
      1. To Peggy Kirkaldy (October 4, 1949)
      2. To Maryvonne Moerman (November 9, 1949)
      3. To Peggy Kirkaldy (December 6, 1949)
      4. To Morchard Bishop (January 27, 1953)
      5. To Francis Wyndham (March 29, 1958)
      6. To Selma Vaz Dias (April 9, 1959)
      7. To Francis Wyndham (September 27, 1959)
      8. To Diana Athill (August 16, 1963)
      9. To Francis Wyndham (March 7, 1964)
      10. To Francis Wyndham (April 14, 1964)
      11. To Francis Wyndham (1964)
      12. To Diana Athill (1966)
      13. To Diana Athill (March 9, 1966)
    8. The Bible is Modern
    9. From Smile Please
    10. Books
    11. Meta
    12. My Mother
    13. Black/White
    14. Facts of Life
    15. From “Black Exercise Book”


    1. Derek Walcott – Jean Rhys
    2. Mary Lou Emery – Modernist Crosscurrents
    3. Michael Thorpe – “The Other Side”: Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre
    4. Kenneth Ramchand – [The Place of Jean Rhys and Wide Sargasso Sea]
    5. Wilson Harris – Carnival of Psyche: Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea
    6. Sandra Drake – Race and Caribbean Culture as Thematics of
    7. Liberation in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea
    8. Lee Erwin – [History and Narrative in Wide Sargasso Sea]
    9. Caroline Rody – Burning Down the House: The Revisionary Paradigm of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea
    10. Mona Fayad – Unquiet Ghosts: The Struggle for Representation in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea
    11. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak – [Wide Sargasso Sea and a Critique of Imperialism]
    12. Benita Parry – [Two Native Voices in Wide Sargasso Sea]
    13. Judith Raiskin – England: Dream and Nightmare

    Jean Rhys: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography