Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys (born Ella Gwendolyn Rees Williams, 24 August 1890 – 14 May 1979) was a British-Dominican writer.

She was born and grew up in Dominica, and moved to England when she was 16. Her father was Welsh and her mother was Dominican (with Scots ancestry). Jean Rhys studied at the Perse School for Girls in Cambridge, and attended two terms at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She worked as chorus girl, nude model, Bohemian artist, and clerk in a pension office. She volunteered in a soldiers’ canteen during WWI. Under the patronage of Ford Madox Ford, whom she had met in 1924, Rhys started publishing short stories. Her first four novels were published during the 1920s and 1930s.


  • The Left Bank and Other Stories (1927)
  • Postures (1928. Released as Quartet, 1929)
  • After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (1931)
  • Voyage in the Dark (1934)
  • Good Morning, Midnight (1939)
  • The Day They Burned the Books (1960)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)
  • Tigers Are Better-Looking: With a Selection from ‘The Left Bank’ (1968)
  • My Day: Three Pieces (1975)
  • Sleep It Off Lady (1976)
  • Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography (1979)
  • Let Them Call it Jazz (1980)
  • Jean Rhys Letters 1931–1966 (1984)
  • Early Novels (1984)
  • The Complete Novels (1985)
  • Tales of the Wide Caribbean (1985)
  • The Collected Short Stories (1987)

About her

  • The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys, by Lilian Pizzichini (2009)
  • Jean Rhys, by Helen Carr (1996)
  • Jean Rhys. Life and Work, by Carol Angier (1990)
  • Jean Rhys, by Arnold Davidson (1985)


2 thoughts on “Jean Rhys

  1. Good evening to you,
    I count myself most fortunate to have come upon your lovely weblog today. It is everything I find captivating in a reading journal. If I may ask you a bookish question? I’ve read only one of Jean Rhys’ books, the Wide Sargasso Sea – but it was written after her long absence from the public eye. Would you have a recommendation for one of her earlier novels. Thanks so much.


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