Jean Rhys

Literary Birthday – 24 August – Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys was born 24 August 1890 and died 14 May 1979.


  1. I like shape very much. A novel has to have shape, and life doesn’t have any.
  2. I would never be part of anything. I would never really belong anywhere, and I knew it, and all my life would be the same, trying to belong, and failing.
  3. There are always two deaths, the real one and the one people know about.
  4. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. And then there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.
  5. There is always another side, always.
  6. Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.
  7. Not that she objected to solitude. Quite the contrary. She had books, thank Heaven, quantities of books. All sorts of books.
  8. I must write. If I stop writing my life will have been an abject failure. It is that already to other people. But it could be an abject failure to myself. I will not have earned death.
  9. All of a writer that matters is in the book or books. It is idiotic to be curious about the person.

Jean Rhys was a West Indian novelist. She was born and grew up in the Caribbean island of Dominica, though she was mainly resident in England from the age of 16. She is best known for her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, which was written as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

Source for image:,_in_hat)_with_Mollie_Stoner,_Velthams,_1970s_A.jpg  G88keeper, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 24th August 2018