Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Wide Sargasso Sea: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1

Wide Sargasso Sea: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1

Current price is , Original price is $20.0. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393960129
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/28/1998
Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 270
Sales rank: 73,732
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jean Rhys (1890–1979) is the author of Good Morning,
Midnight; Voyage in the Dark; After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie;
Quartet; and The Collected Short Stories.

Judith L. Raiskin is Associate Professor and Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Oregon. She is the author of Snow on the Cane Fields: Women’s Writing and Creole Subjectivity.

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Wide Sargasso Sea: A Norton Critical Edition 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The survival of patriarchy depends on the reduction of the woman to a virtual zombie. Thus, she must rank with the infants, that is to say she must be seen and not heard. Rhys takes her hero further so that she is neither seen nor heard. Her self is infinitely pliant, since it is defined by foreign laws and customs and by the creative imaginations of speculators. The novel Wide Sargasso Sea makes great reading for those concerned with the plight of the underrepresented and the misunderstood minority elements in society. It restores their voice and forces us to recognize that within the deep depths of oppression, there is a fire that glows and waits to burst into flames at the first breath of oxygen. This prequel to Bronte's JANE EYRE is a condemnation of ethnocentrism, colonialism and patriarchy that needs not Bronte's novel to give it meaning. Instead, it rightly reminds us that the knowledge of another's history is a necessary condition to making value judgements. It personifies the lucidity and fecundity of the Caribbean woman's mind which Bronte representS as lunacy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Few books have affected me this deeply. It is a very moving account of Antoinette/Bertha's spiral into madness. As a reader you become absorbed; feel her pain as she realises that happiness will always elude her. I had never read Jane Eyre (and you do not need to know that novel, in order to enjoy this)but sought it out after reading Rhys' book. Bronte does not give a voice to the mad woman in the attic, leaving us little possibility to understand her. Rhys gives Mrs. Rochester a voice in her work, but unlike Bronte, she also gives voice to the other side of the story as the narrative is taken up by both Mr and Mrs Rochester. I do not feel that Mr. Rochester is demonised in this book. He finds himself in a situation that is beyond his control or understanding. This book will be of interest to anyone who enjoys a 'good read', those interested in understanding so called madness, anyone interested in feminist theory, and anyone who just enjoys a book that makes them cry! We are used to reading works which provide an outsiders view of the postcolonial Caribbean. Wide Sargasso Sea provides an insiders postcolonial perspective, so would interest anyone interested in postcolonialism too. Read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful book that takes you into the heart of the characters and of the Caribbean. It is an interesting account of the race relations after slavery. The characters in this novel are passionate, deep, and complex. Some people have complained on here that this novel is a little confusing. Fortunately, I read it in a college English class and had a great professor that guided us to understanding. Otherwise, I might not have understood everything that happened. Many important things happen in this novel that you could totally miss and then you wouldn't understand what really happened between characters. But if you are a really good reader or are reading this book with really good guidance, I assure you it is a beautiful masterpiece of literature.
norabelle414 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This short story was fabulous. But the background of it is even more fascinating. Jean Rhys grew up as a white woman in the Caribbean and went to study in England when she was 17. Even though she never returned for more than a few weeks, she always considered herself to be a white Creole and resented the English. She read Jane Eyre and felt that she related less to Jane and more to the minor character of Bertha. (I won't ruin it for anyone who hasn't read Jane Eyre.) So she wrote a beautiful story with Bertha as the main character. It's meaningful and interesting, and talks about zombies! (Although the voudou kind, not the contagious rage-filled monkeys kind)
Sorrel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ve been meaning to read Wide Sargasso Sea for a while now, as Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favourites. This is not because I necessarily approve of the characters¿ decisions (and I do think the ending is a cop-out), but I enjoyed Jane¿s sincerity and compassion. Wide Sargasso Sea takes on the same story from the point of view of Mr. Rochester¿s mad wife, and so addresses the problem of Annette/Bertha being dehumanised and neatly disposed of as a neat ending to Bronte¿s problem.I am glad I read this, but did not exactly enjoy it: I had a hard time engaging with the story. On the other hand, there was much to think about, and the dumb ending made a lot more sense with Rhys¿s take on the matter. It was a good ending for this book.I found the Norton Critical Edition to be extremely frustrating. Footnotes would often take up half a page, but only one in ten were actually useful. The rest were trivial, and for the most part, glaringly obvious comments. Nonetheless, I was continually distracted by them hoping that the next one would be enlightening. This edition not recommended.
raistlinsshadow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was supposed to be the story of Jane Eyre told from the point of view of the crazy woman in the attic, Bertha Mason. It does the trick, I suppose, but this suffers from a far worse pacing problem¿about 75% of the book is dedicated to Bertha's childhood, while the remainder is the only part that's actually devoted to the story of how Bertha interacts with Jane Eyre and the rest of the household once she's taken out of the Caribbean. It was remotely interesting to hear from her perspective and to sort of piece together exactly why she was mad, but it wasn't exactly the attention grabber that I thought it would (and thought it would have the potential to) be. Unfortunate, because while it was rather boring except for a few scenes, it was written quite well.
lauralkeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wide Sargasso Sea is well-known as the "prequel" to Jane Eyre. Rhys tells the life story of Antoinette Mason, a Creole who becomes the mad woman in Jane Eyre. The story itself is quite short (113 pages). My copy, a Norton Critical Edition, contained considerable supplementary material. Relevant excerpts from Jane Eyre helped refresh my memory and made the necessary connections between the two books. An essay by Rachel Carson described the natural phenomenon of the Sargasso Sea. There were also several essays of literary criticism analyzing this work, and numerous letters written by Jean Rhys. As the supplementary material indicates, this book has received considerable acclaim, and been the subject of widespread analysis. Although I found Wide Sargasso Sea to be a mildly interesting read, and enhanced certain aspects of Jane Eyre, it fell short of my expectations. It was interesting to consider how Mr. Rochester and Antoinette came together, but their relationship was poorly developed. The reasons for Antoinette's descent into madness were unclear, and I found it difficult to identify or sympathize with the characters.
citygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rhys' Jamaica is lush and hypnotic, in stark contrast to Jane's bleak English countryside. Her young woman is sensual, beautiful and dreamy, far from Jane's pragmatic orphan. This is a beautiful novel, the descriptions of Jamaica and its denizens after slave emancipation are fascinating and would be a bit familiar to Americans from the South. Rhys had the freedom to portray Rochester's sexuality more clearly than Bronte, adding a new dimension to the man. This adds to the story. It is a worthy companion to Jane Eyre.
rampaginglibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first time i read this i wasn't too fond of it, couldn't make much sense of it. Then after i read "Jane Eyre" for the third time for some reason i decided to read it again and this time i loved it. Maybe it was all the notes in this edition, or maybe it just took a second reading, or a couple of years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MaryRobbinP More than 1 year ago
Rhys¿ Wide Sargasso Sea was a surprising and fulfilling companion novel to Bronte¿s classic Jane Eyre. This novel was introduced to me in a college literature class with the objective of reading Jane Eyre and JE-themed texts. Previous to this class, never before reading Bronte, I had always heard of the mysterious ¿Bertha from Jane Eyre,¿ but never knew her circumstances to the context. After completing JE, I felt Bertha to be such a complex character, but I still felt left in the dark on her identity in the novel. Rhys¿ version of the story served to fill many gaps left to the reader¿s imagination by Bronte. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys takes her creative liberties and runs with them - providing readers with a welcome backstory to the mysterious woman in Rochester¿s attic. Like an uncut film versus the theatrical version, Rhys¿ interpretation of Bronte¿s Jane Eyre provides an entirely different viewpoint of Bertha through Wide Sargasso Sea¿s Antoinette. Rhys revolves her plot around Antoinette Mason (Bronte¿s Bertha). We are given a first person account of Antoinette¿s childhood and lonely upbringing, as well as alternate accounts from both R and his first wife regarding their courtship and marriage. As the novel exists to provide more of an identity for Bertha, the story itself is one of how Antoinette struggles with and ultimately loses her identity throughout her character¿s development and in her relationship with R ¿ providing insight into a reader¿s prior perspective of Bertha from JE. Rhys allows her readers to see the humanity the humanity in Antoinette that was not presented in Bronte¿s Bertha. We are given more insight to her emotions and a first-hand access to her private thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed Wide Sargasso Sea, in that I found it to be an excellent addition to a classic novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book mainly because I read Jane Eyre right before it. It gives an interesting perspective to Bronte's book! I did find myself frustrated about details that seemed to be missing, and the jumping around of who was narrating. I am thankful it was short so I was done quickly!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jane Eyre is my favorite novel and Charlotte Bronte is my favorite author, so when I realized that someone attempted to write a prequel to this novel, I was instantly interested. Rhys stream of consciouness and alteration of the original story keep it from getting 5 stars, but if the story is considered on its own, it is interesting. Antoinette (Bertha) becomes a real person, instead of the lunatic from Jane Eyre, and the novel itself is an interesting concept. I would not recommend this novel to someone who cannot understand stream of consciousness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having read Jane Eyre first and liking Rochester's character but also having unanswered questions about the first Mrs Rochester, this book was a great insight into Rochester's past. Many people believe Wide Sargasso Sea demonizes Rochester, yet the angle of the book also presents the argument that Bertha was an innocent victim of a young man who fell out of love with his wife. An interesting book, well worth the read!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
On reading the other reviews i noticed 'insane' used quite often. I enjoyed and understood the book very much although i felt Jean Ryhs might have missed the point of Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte was not in my opinion trying to paint a 'hero', but a man, a man full of faults. This books describes a monster..a selfish unfeeling monster. I found this tale of unrequited love and unsatisfied passion and longing, tasteless. Jean Ryhs seemed to have a personal vendetta against Mr.Rochester and the man she felt he represented. If you have read Jane Eyre and are satisfied by the earthly beauty it has and would rather not have your ideas about Mr.Rochester polluted don't read this. But if you are open to some else's point of view by all means...enjoy
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ladies and Gentlemen, be warned, Wide Sargasso Sea is a horrifying excuse for a book. To understand the story better it's best to read Jane Eyre, although after reading it I was still thoroughly confused with WSS. After I had read Jane Eyre, which I had completely fallen in love with, I had the highest expectations for this book, however I felt it did not grab me and pull me into it, it left me bored and tired as well as confused, and left me feeling empty. Whereas in Jane Eyre I could hardly put the book down at times, the characters and the story captivated me, and I was rarely confused by what was going on. I felt completely satisfied after reading a classic book such as Jane Eyre, which I had heard about at random times throughout my life. Save your money and spend it on a book that's worth while. You have been warned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wide Sargasso Sea provided a different perspective on the characters in Jane Eyre, in particular Antoinette. It helped me ruminate the characters Rochester and Antoinette, however,Rhys seemed to persecute Rochester by portraying him as a selfish cold hearted man (which after reading Jane Eyre, I think is false). Rhys made Antoinette the victim of this supposed monster. I don't think Bronte wanted to portray him in that way, that in actuality he was not a bad person, but rather his environs and numerous unfortunate circumstances influenced him and his actions. He was the victim in Jane Eyre. ALthough Rhy's style is more simple than that of Bronte's, her book was more confusing, maybe because of the several changes in points of view. Overall though, Wide Sargasso Sea was an ok book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea for my college English class. I was surprised by how much i liked Jane Eyre, and started this book expecting way too much . Rhys' style is incredibly different than Bronte's. Put simply, i hated this book with a passion. It was boring, tedious, and at times confusing. I really really struggled to get through it. Bronte's style is awash with wonderful imagery and its very readable. WSS is none of these. Only read it if you're forced to, IMO. You've been warned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
its just crap, dont bother