It's fatal making a fuss ... .-Jean Rhys, Quartet.Cathleen Maslen's Ferocious Things: Jean Rhys and the Politics of Women's Melancholia closely engages with the most obvious theme of Rhys's writing: the speaking and inscription of feminine anguish. Maslen resists easy generalisations with respect to Rhys's portrayal of women's psychic pain, attending carefully to the nuances of sexual, cultural and ethnic displacement which inform the suffering of Rhys's protagonists. Acknowledging the many fine recent critical engagements with Rhys's unique corpus of novels, Maslen insists that Rhys's particular articulation of women's pain presents a significant literary transgression, defying the intractable cultural interdiction against women 'making a fuss.' At the same time, this book engages with the problematic privileging of melancholic and nostalgic discourse in the Western canon in general. Rhys's work, Maslen argues, simultaneously celebrates and resists fundamentally Eurocentric and anti-feminist paradigms of melancholia and nostalgia. In short, the ferocious melancholia of Jean Rhys's female voices poses constructive paradoxes and points of departure for feminist and post-colonial debates in the 21st century.
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