The Life of Jean Rhys, a Uniquely Brilliant and Thorny Writer – Explained!

On the one hand, it’s breezy — the type of biography wherein the writer prints a snapshot of herself exterior a college Rhys attended, and describes chatting up varied locals on her researches.

On the opposite hand, it’s imply-spirited. Seymour consists of a fairly unflattering photograph of Rhys’s editor, the nice Diana Athill, shortly earlier than her loss of life, above a caption that reads, “The smile and bright clothes marked the point at which she had decided I was worth her time.”

The prose and evaluation are mushy. Seymour leaves out so many of the most effective issues Rhys wrote and mentioned, and thus makes her appear much less clever than she was. She lingers over Rhys’s intense curiosity in her personal look, even fairly late in life, for instance, with out noting that Rhys wrote that such an curiosity is “the real curse of Eve.”

Every chapter begins with a citation, which is sort of customary apply. But Seymour doesn’t inform us that Rhys wrote, in a printed journal: “No more quotations. Paul Morand says in one of his books that English novelists always start with a quotation. The text before the sermon. I found that witty.”

Seymour has some materials earlier biographers didn’t. But the main points in her guide are, sentence by sentence and web page by web page, much less piquant than those in Angier’s — what individuals ate, what they wore. Angier did a higher job, too, of setting the fiction alongside the life with out blurring the 2.

Rhys had a uniquely lonely intelligence, and a expertise for dealing with arduous truths. If all you understand of her is “Wide Sargasso Sea,” this guide will encourage you to department out. That’s practically — virtually, possibly — definitely worth the worth of admission.

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