book cover of Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea

(1966)
A novel by

 
 
In 1966 Jean Rhys reemerged after a long silence with a novel called Wide Sargasso Sea. Rhys had enjoyed minor literary success in the 1920s and '30s with a series of evocative novels featuring women protagonists adrift in Europe, verging on poverty, hoping to be saved by men. By the '40s, however, her work was out of fashion, too sad for a world at war. And Rhys herself was often too sad for the world--she was suicidal, alcoholic, troubled by a vast loneliness. She was also a great writer, despite her powerful self-destructive impulses.

Wide Sargasso Sea is the story of Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress who grew up in the West Indies on a decaying plantation. When she comes of age she is married off to an Englishman, and he takes her away from the only place she has known--a house with a garden where "the paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched."

The novel is Rhys's answer to Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë's book had long haunted her, mostly for the story it did not tell--that of the madwoman in the attic, Rochester's terrible secret. Antoinette is Rhys's imagining of that locked-up woman, who in the end burns up the house and herself. Wide Sargasso Sea follows her voyage into the dark, both from her point of view and Rochester's. It is a voyage charged with soul-destroying lust. "I watched her die many times," observes the new husband. "In my way, not in hers. In sunlight, in shadow, by moonlight, by candlelight. In the long afternoons when the house was empty."

Rhys struggled over the book, enduring rejections and revisions, wrestling to bring this ruined woman out of the ashes. The slim volume was finally published when she was 70 years old. The critical adulation that followed, she said, "has come too late." Jean Rhys died a few years later, but with Wide Sargasso Sea she left behind a great legacy, a work of strange, scary loveliness. There has not been a book like it before or since. Believe me, I've been searching. --Emily White



Similar books by other authors


Used availability for Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea

Hardback Editions

October 2016 : UK Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Clothbound Classics)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-241-28190-3 / 978-0-241-28190-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2010 : USA Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-7569-9037-8 / 978-0-7569-9037-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Perfection Learning
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


August 1992 : USA Library Binding
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Norton Paperback Fiction)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-613-17597-2 / 978-0-613-17597-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Turtleback
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 1999 : USA Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 1-56849-729-6 / 978-1-56849-729-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Buccaneer Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 1994 : USA Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys, Francis Wyndham
ISBN: 0-7862-0073-1 / 978-0-7862-0073-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 1994 : UK Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-7451-2063-6 / 978-0-7451-2063-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Chivers Large print (Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & C
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 1992 : UK Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Bloomsbury Classic Series)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-7475-1237-X / 978-0-7475-1237-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 1989 : UK Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Textplus)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-340-49981-8 / 978-0-340-49981-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Hodder Arnold H&S
Availability: Amazon UK   


November 1980 : UK Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (New Portway)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-85997-485-5 / 978-0-85997-485-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Electric Power Storage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 1966 : UK Hardback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-233-95866-5 / 978-0-233-95866-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

1821 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-393-35256-0 / 978-0-393-35256-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


April 2011 : UK Mass Market Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Essentials)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-241-95155-0 / 978-0-241-95155-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2007 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Ryhs
ISBN: 0-07-724085-5 / 978-0-07-724085-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


November 2006 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Macmillan CXC Study Companions)
Author(s): Jean Rhys, Debbie Jacob
ISBN: 1-4050-3092-5 / 978-1-4050-3092-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Macmillan Caribbean
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


January 1998 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-606-20991-3 / 978-0-606-20991-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1982 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: The Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-582-48896-6 / 978-0-582-48896-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


April 2001 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-081803-0 / 978-0-14-081803-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 2001 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea Book & CD Pack (Penguin Student Editions)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-081802-2 / 978-0-14-081802-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


August 2000 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Modern Classics)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-118542-2 / 978-0-14-118542-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 2000 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Modern Classics)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-118285-7 / 978-0-14-118285-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


November 1998 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Norton Critical Editions)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-393-96012-9 / 978-0-393-96012-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


September 1998 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Essentials)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-027421-9 / 978-0-14-027421-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 1997 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)
Author(s): Angela Smith, Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-018983-1 / 978-0-14-018983-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1994 : UK Paperback

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-7451-2075-X / 978-0-7451-2075-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Chivers Large print (Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & C
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 1993 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-023143-9 / 978-0-14-023143-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1992 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-393-31048-5 / 978-0-393-31048-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


August 1992 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea: A Novel
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-393-30880-4 / 978-0-393-31048-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


April 1990 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Twentieth Century Classics)
Author(s): Francis Wyndham, Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-018348-5 / 978-0-14-018348-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 1987 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Modern Classics)
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-008912-8 / 978-0-14-008912-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 1986 : USA Mass Market Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-393-00056-7 / 978-0-393-00056-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Norton
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


January 1968 : UK Mass Market Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-14-002878-1 / 978-0-14-002878-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1966 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-445-00251-4 / 978-0-445-00251-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Popular Library
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

May 2007 : UK Audio Cassette

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-7531-3780-1 / 978-0-7531-3780-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: ISIS Audio Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


May 2007 : UK Audio CD

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-7531-2752-0 / 978-0-7531-2752-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: ISIS Audio Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


December 1995 : UK Audio Cassette
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea: Complete & Unabridged
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 1-85695-267-3 / 978-1-85695-267-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: ISIS Audio Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 1994 : UK Audio Cassette
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)
Author(s): Jane Lapotaire, Jean Rhys, Michael Kitchen
ISBN: 0-14-086059-2 / 978-0-14-086059-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 1993 : USA Audio Cassette
thumb

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 0-7366-2365-5 / 978-0-7366-2365-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Availability: Amazon   


January 1993 : Audio Cassette

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea
Author(s): Jean Rhys
ISBN: 5555772165 / 978-5555772169
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon