Wide Sargasso Sea Criticism

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Wide Sargasso Sea was an immediate critical success. The book won for its author two prestigious awards, the W. H. Smith Literary Award and the Heinemann Award of the Royal Society for Literature. Critics were attracted to Rhys's imaginative retelling of the story of the madwoman Bertha Mason from Charlotte Bronte's beloved novel, Jane Eyre. The tie to Bronte that probably brought Wide Sargasso Sea its wide readership also brought its share of controversy. Early reviewer Walter Allen declared that the book could "not exist in its own right" and only works as an interesting appendage to Bronte's better novel. Others disagree. Michael Thorpe believes that Wide Sargasso Sea actually forces readers to see Jane Eyre as a flawed, "more 'dated' work, marred by stereotyping and crude imaginings."

Critical attention to Jean Rhys and her last novel is ever growing. As Judith L. Raiskin writes in...

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This section contains 503 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Wide Sargasso Sea Study Guide
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Wide Sargasso Sea from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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