I Used to Live Here Once

The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 28 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 31 May 2022

Talking about this book? Use #IUsedtoLiveHereOnce #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

An intimate, profoundly moving biography of Jean Rhys, acclaimed author of Wide Sargasso Sea.

Jean Rhys is one of the most compelling writers of the twentieth century. Memories of her Caribbean girlhood haunt the four short and piercingly brilliant novels that Rhys wrote during her extraordinary years as an exile in 1920s Paris and later in England, a body of fiction—above all, the extraordinary Wide Sargasso Sea—that has a passionate following today. And yet her own colorful life, including her early years on the Caribbean island of Dominica, remains too little explored, until now.

In I Used to Live Here Once, Miranda Seymour sheds new light on the artist whose proud and fiercely solitary life profoundly informed her writing. Rhys experienced tragedy and extreme poverty, alcohol and drug dependency, romantic and sexual turmoil, all of which contributed to the “Rhys woman” of her oeuvre. Today, readers still intuitively relate to her unforgettable characters, vulnerable, watchful, and often alarmingly disaster-prone outsiders; women with a different way of moving through the world. And yet, while her works often contain autobiographical material, Rhys herself was never a victim. The figure who emerges for Seymour is cultured, self-mocking, unpredictable—and shockingly contemporary.

Based on new research in the Caribbean, a wealth of never-before-seen papers, journals, letters, and photographs, and interviews with those who knew Rhys, I Used to Live Here Once is a luminous and penetrating portrait of a fascinatingly elusive artist.

About the Author: Miranda Seymour is a British biographer whose acclaimed books include biographies of Jean Rhys, Lord Byron's wife and daughter, Annabella Milbanke and Ada Lovelace; Mary Shelley; and Ottoline Morrell.

An intimate, profoundly moving biography of Jean Rhys, acclaimed author of Wide Sargasso Sea.

Jean Rhys is one of the most compelling writers of the twentieth century. Memories of her Caribbean...


Advance Praise

"Miranda Seymour has written a compelling and stylish new biography of Jean Rhys, whose life and work have often been cast in melancholic shadow. Seymour adds color and complexity to Rhys’s story, and suggests the haunting influence of her early years on the Caribbean island of Dominica. This is a fresh, empathetic portrait of an iconic and unconventional woman writer whose searing novels of trauma, race, gender, and exile were ahead of their time." - Heather Clark, author of Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath

"The multiple guises and conflicting personae of Jean Rhys—reckless and reclusive, captivating and appalling—demand a particularly agile biographer. Miranda Seymour is ideally suited to the task. An empathetic but unsparing critic, a tenacious and resourceful researcher, and a historian of literary cultures with a novelist’s sense of the evocative detail, she has produced an enthralling biography of a haunting—and maddening—modern writer." - Elaine Showalter, Professor of English, Emeritus, Princeton University

"Miranda Seymour has written a compelling and stylish new biography of Jean Rhys, whose life and work have often been cast in melancholic shadow. Seymour adds color and complexity to Rhys’s story...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324006121
PRICE $32.50 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 4 members


Featured Reviews

A fascinating and intimate look at the author of the beloved WIDE SARGASSO SEA, Miranda Seymour's I USED TO LIVE HERE ONCE paints a rich portrait of a complex and fiercely talented writer, as well as the times in which she lived. Deeply researched and vivid, this is a finely crafted biography which reads as compellingly as a novel.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: