The Best English-Language Fiction of the Twentieth Century
A Composite List and Ranking
by Brian Kunde


<- Rhys, Jean, 1890-1979.
         Birth name: Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams. Dominican-born British author of Welsh and Dominican Creole descent. Her experience as a West Indian outsider in European society is reflected in her literary perspective as a voice for the disposessed. Her literary career was interrupted by a quarter century of withdrawal, and dramatically reignited by the appearance of Wide Sargasso Sea, her most famous work, in 1966.
  • <- Wide Sargasso Sea. 1966.
             A re-imagining of the story of Bertha Mason (here Antoinette Cosway), the "madwoman in the attic" of Charlotte Brontė's classic novel Jane Eyre (1847). The first part, narrated by Antoinette, tells of her early life in Jamaica to the time of her arranged marriage. The second, alternating between her point of view and that of her husband, tells of their married life in Dominica, relating the failure of the marriage and Antoinette's descent into madness amid mutual mistrust. The remaining section deals with her period of imprisonment in her husband's English mansion and decision to commit suicide. Winner of the W. H. Smith Literary Award in 1967, and of the Cheltenham Booker Prize for 1966 in 2006. Adapted to film in 1993, opera in 1997, and television in 2006.

Posted Jan. 20, 2012, and last updated Jun. 7, 2013.
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Published by Fleabonnet Press.
The source list data is public domain.
Additional material © 1999-2013 by Brian Kunde.