Jean Rhys a postcultural icon? Pull the other one

A different read on Jean Rhys.

Repeating Islands

Miranda Seymour’s I Used to Live Here Once shows another side to the progressive writer – that of an embittered racist. A review by Sameer Rahim for London’s Telegraph.

Since Jean Rhys’s death 42 years ago, our obsession with her life and work – mostly in that order – has only grown. The legend of Rhys, author of five novels, 50 stories and a memoir, has been burnished by a collection of her letters, biographies by Carole Angier andLilian Pizzichini, plus memoirs by her editor Diana Athill and by her friend David Plante. Now it is Miranda Seymour’s turn to re-tell the story, with informative new material on her early life in the Caribbean, and a more generous tone than some of her predecessors.

There is certainly plenty to tell. Born Ella Gwendoline Rees Williams in 1890 to a white family in Dominica, she became a chorus…

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