Fashion in Jean Rhys/Jean Rhys in Fashion

Sophie Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article proposes a reciprocal relationship between Jean Rhys's interwar fiction and the mass media that popularised her work in the 1960s and 1970s. Surveying the signs that Rhys and her writing had become fashionable – for example, press reviews and profiles, including in colour supplements and fashion magazines (even her own shoot), along with television adaptations of the work she wrote or set in the 1930s – the piece discusses how her postwar ‘readers’ interpreted this literature of an earlier period in a way that made sense of their own era. It argues that this use of the past to understand the contemporary moment follows the logic of fashion's cyclical temporality, and that it was prefigured in the fashion-conscious, modernist short stories of Rhys's first publication, The Left Bank (1927). The article ultimately suggests that Rhys's work was subject to fashion, an eventuality that it had always envisaged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-330
Number of pages19
JournalModernist Cultures
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2016

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