Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre

I picked up Jean Ryhs’s Wide Sargasso Sea again reaently (I’m going through a rereading phase at the moment) and I got think about how although each time I’ve read it, I’ve thought about Jane Eyre, I’ve never read them in succession.
So I’m going to do it now. It’s going to be an odd experience, and a bit like a weird kind of time travel – Rhys wrote her book long after Bronte, but chronologically, it pre-empts Jane Eyre as it writes back in time to it. Also, like most people, I read Wide Sargasso Sea as an adult, long after I first read Jane Eyre – which my grandmother bought it for me and I loved when I was younger. Rhys’s novel was also one of the first texts to bring home the concept of the postcolonial to me – perhaps because it made me completely rethink a text that I thought I knew so well. Why had I never thought about ‘the madwoman in the attic’ before? It’s unsettling to have your literary map upset like that, and I suppose I’m wondering if rereading the two texts in succession will do it again.


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