Rewriting and the Politics of Inheritance in Robin Jenkins and Jean Rhys

Marina MacKay

in Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748637744
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652143 | DOI:
Rewriting and the Politics of Inheritance in Robin Jenkins and Jean Rhys

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This chapter compares two postwar novels, Robin Jenkins' Fergus Lamont and Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea. Fergus Lamont and Wide Sargasso Sea are doubles of novels about doubles, and, just as the novelistic trope of the Doppelgänger brings to light those aspects of the ‘individual’ that otherwise remain hidden or repressed, twinning these two almost contemporary novels helps to illuminate the political priorities motivating the rewriting of nineteenth-century classics by British writers who refuse to see themselves as such. These novels are about literal legacies, and about the literary legacies of the minority ‘British’ writer. Postwar writers such as Robin Jenkins and Jean Rhys, and their rewritings of insular classics in order to show what they do not say, might be seen to anticipate one of the most significant aspects of Anglophone fiction from the last thirty years, the politicisation of postmodern literary sensibility by post-imperial consciousness.

Keywords: Robin Jenkins; Fergus Lamont; Jean Rhys; Wide Sargasso Sea; politicisation; rewritings; political priorities

Chapter.  5831 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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