Literary Allusion in the Fiction of Jean Rhys

  • Thorunn Lonsdale


As a white Creole with a family history of slave-owning, Jean Rhys might be seen to sit precariously within the Caribbean literary canon. Kenneth Ramchand1 and Evelyn O’Callaghan2 have argued for her Caribbean identity and she remains a pivotal figure despite a continuing debate. John Hearne speaks of Rhys’s best-known novel, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), as representing a character ‘abandoned by history’; it would be sad if Jean Rhys too were to be abandoned by history because she is not deemed sufficiently ‘Caribbean’. As Denise deCaires Narain and Evelyn O’Callaghan have said, the

privileging of the black, working-class woman, while being ‘politically correct’ tends to homogenize writing by regional women, encouraging fixed agendas of appropriate subjects and setting limits on just who actually qualifies to be considered ‘Caribbean’.3


Short Story Harvester Wheatsheaf Final Dream Good Samaritan Collect Poem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allfrey, P.S. The Orchid House ( 1953 ) London: Virago, 1990.Google Scholar
  2. Angier, C. Jean Rhys: Life and Work. London: André Deutsch, 1990.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, A. The Old Wives’ Tale ( 1908 ) London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1911.Google Scholar
  4. Breeze, J.B. ‘Red Rebel Song’ in Spring Cleaning. London: Virago, 1992.Google Scholar
  5. Birbalsingh, F (ed.), Frontiers of Caribbean Literature in English. London: Macmillan Education Limited, 1996.Google Scholar
  6. Carr, H. Jean Rhys. Plymouth: Northcote House, 1996.Google Scholar
  7. Conrad, J. Almayer’s Folly (1895) Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1981.Google Scholar
  8. de Caires Narain, D. and E. O’Callaghan in ‘Anglophone Caribbean Women Writers’ in (eds) A. Rutherford, L. Jensen and S. Chew Into the Nineties. Armidale, NSW: Dangaroo Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  9. Dujardin, E. Les lauriers sont coupés ( 1887 ) London: Libris, 1991.Google Scholar
  10. Goodison, L. ‘A Jean Rhys Lady’ in Tamarind Season. Jamaica: Institute of Jamaica, 1980.Google Scholar
  11. Goodison, L. ‘Lullaby For Jean Rhys’ in I Am Becoming My Mother ( 1986 ) London: New Beacon Books, 1995.Google Scholar
  12. Gregg, V.M. ‘Ideology and Autobiography in the Jean Rhys oeuvre’ in (ed.) A. Rutherford From Commonwealth to Post-Colonial. Sydney, NSW: Dangaroo Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  13. Hemingway, E. The Sun Also Rises (1927) in The Essential Hemingway ( 1947 ) London: Grafton, 1977.Google Scholar
  14. Howells, C. Jean Rhys. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991.Google Scholar
  15. McNeill, A. ‘The White Shell’ in Jamaica Journal, 22. 3 (August 1989) 59.Google Scholar
  16. Mariani, P. (ed.), Critical Fictions: The Politics of Imaginative Writing. Seattle: Bay Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  17. Melville, P. Shape-shifter ( 1990 ) London: Picador, 1991.Google Scholar
  18. Morrell, C (ed.), Grammar of Dissent: Poetry and Prose by Claire Harris, M. Nourbese Philip, Dionne Brand. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane, 1994.Google Scholar
  19. Newman, J. The Ballistic Bard: Postcolonial Fictions. London: Arnold, 1996.Google Scholar
  20. O’Callaghan, E. Woman Version: Theoretical Approaches to West Indian Fiction by Women. London: Macmillan, 1993.Google Scholar
  21. Rhys, J. Quartet ( 1928 ) London: Penguin, 1988.Google Scholar
  22. Rhys, J. After Leaving Mr Mackenzie (1930) Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1987.Google Scholar
  23. Rhys, J. Voyage in the Dark (1934) Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1987.Google Scholar
  24. Rhys, J. Good Morning, Midnight ( 1939 ) London: Penguin, 1969.Google Scholar
  25. Rhys, J. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: André Deutsch, 1966.Google Scholar
  26. Rhys, J. Tigers Are Better-Looking with a selection from the Left Bank. London: André Deutsch, 1968.Google Scholar
  27. Rhys, J. Sleep It Off Lady, London: André Deutsch, 1976.Google Scholar
  28. Rhys, J. Smile Please: an Unfinished Autobiography. London: André Deutsch, 1979Google Scholar
  29. Ramchand, K. ‘Terrified Consciousness’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 7 (July 1969) 8–19.Google Scholar
  30. Staley, T.F. Jean Rhys: A Critical Study. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Senior, O. ‘Meditation on Red’ in Gardening in the Tropics ( 1994 ) Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books Limited, 1995.Google Scholar
  32. Thomas, E. The Last Room ( 1991 ) London: Virago, 1992.Google Scholar
  33. Walcott, D. ‘Jean Rhys’ in Collected Poems, 1948–1984 ( 1986 ) New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1992.Google Scholar
  34. Wyndham F. and D. Melly (eds). Jean Rhys Letters, 1931–66. London: André Deutsch, 1984.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Thorunn Lonsdale 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thorunn Lonsdale

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations