Jean Rhys is widely credited for exposing issues of gender, nationality, race, and class in technically sophisticated, arresting narratives. Her lifelong exploration of the dynamics of the human psyche has, however, gone unrecognized. This examination places Rhys's fiction for the first time within the context of theories that reflect the interrelated perspectives of modern psychoanalysis. In clarifying accounts of many approaches that are new to literary scholars, as well as those that display the rich legacy of Freudian thought, Simpson shows that the paradigms of psychoanalysis illuminate the interpretation of Rhys's art. With insightful references to the short stories and close readings of her five novels, this study testifies to a remarkable achievement as Rhys recorded, with unflinching candor, the powerful drama of emotional life.
"Anne B. Simpson's Territories of the Psyche is a remarkably systematic Kleinian reading of the fiction of Jean Rhys that shows how both Rhys and Kleinian psychoanalysis cohere in new and unexpected ways. Rhys is a principal link in a chain of feminist modernists that includes Virginia Woolf and Willa Cather, and whose great progenitor is Katherine Mansfield. The international status of feminist modernism reflects its thematic concern with the shifting status of boundaries in both psychical life and the material structures upon which it is propped. Here Simpson's use of Klein proves invaluable in showing how political the psychological is in modern fiction and in modern psychoanalysis." - Perry Meisel, Professor of English, New York University