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Jean Rhys, Europe and the West Indies : A literary study

Gregg, Veronica Marie (1987) Jean Rhys, Europe and the West Indies : A literary study. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86263) (KAR id:86263)


The study seeks to establish the literary connections between Jean Rhys and the aesthetic and ideological traditions of Europe; and how she interpreted and used these to render a West Indian point of view. She started her career in Paris in the nineteen twenties, the time and place of the flowering of the major artistic and creative enterprises of the early twentieth century Europe. She was-i tutored by Ford Madox Ford, one of the figures who helped to formulate some of the aesthetic theories of Modernism. Her immersion in the aesthetics, techniques, principles and formulae did not cause her to dilute or to discard her West Indian heritage, but sharpened her perceptions of the limitations for her own point of view, contained in the ideological underpinnings of the art forms. A demonstration of aspects of her writing unravels her connections to the aesthetics of Europe, her compromises with the dominant ideology, her own ideological standpoint, and finally her own voice. In terms of West Indian writing her work reveals affinities with other writers of her colour and class; as well as important differences resulting from her experience of Europe. She represents an important voice in the literary output of the Caribbean, and her place is marked by a sensibility and a vision which is at one and the same time that of the insider and the outsider. In seeking to render her own true voice she ransacks and sifts through the literary styles and traditions of Europe; analyses the tangled connections between the metropolis and the colony - the contradictions and the denials - to clarify for herself the true essence of things. Contemporary West Indian women writers in particular acknowledge a debt to the complex spirit which did not seek to simplify or to exclude hidden and unwritten aspects of her reality.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86263
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: #ethos, Literary style of Jean Rhys
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:42 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 11:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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