Jean Rhys’s comedie anglaise, or posing in Paris with Balzac and Lukacs

Kolocotroni, V. (2018) Jean Rhys’s comedie anglaise, or posing in Paris with Balzac and Lukacs. In: Goldman, J., Ryan, D. and Davison, C. (eds.) Cross-Channel Modernisms. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh. (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

Jean Rhys’s Paris-based work is a prime example of cross-channel modernism in cultural and biographical terms, but it is also testament to the construction of a distinct style, which relies as much on testimony and the presumed authenticity of lived experience as on the wearing of literary masks. In The Left Bank, Quartet and Good Morning, Midnight, Rhys tries on a range of such masks, or literary poses crafted out of translated and transposed linguistic and literary material, much of which is still unrecognized by her critics. This essay traces the provenance of one of these masks in an episode from Balzac’s Comedie humaine and proposes it as emblematic of a distinctive Rhysian form akin to the literary idyll as defined by Lukacs in his study of the early twentieth-century writer Charles-Louis Philippe.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Accepted for Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kolocotroni, Dr Vassiliki
Authors: Kolocotroni, V.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press

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