Subversive Wanderings in the City of Love: Constructing the Female Body in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight
In this article I analyse the deconstruction of the public/private dichotomy in the city of Paris in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning Midnight (1939). Through the exploration of Sasha’s aimless wandering through Paris in her failed quest for romantic love, this paper aims to explore Rhys’s Paris as a city which is hostile to women who fail to perform conventional standards of femininity. These standards are in turn encouraged and set by the promise of happiness; thus, the mimicry of femininity—whether intentional or not—exposes ongoing power dynamics in gender roles, the construction of the bodies of others through political ideals of happiness and love, and the subversive potential in Rhys’s novel, even if the protagonist is crushed at the end by the private side of the emerging totalitarian regimes on the eve of the Second World War.
Ahmed, Sara. The Promise of Happiness. Duke UP, 2010.
Ahmed, Sara. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. 2nd ed., Edinburgh UP, 2014.
Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900‒1940. U of Texas P, 1986.
Berlant, Lauren. “The Female Complaint.” Social Text, vols. 19/20, 1988, pp. 237‒59.
Berlant, Lauren. The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture. Duke UP, 2008.
Britzolakis, Christina. “‘This way to the exhibition’: Genealogies of Urban Spectacle in Jean Rhys’s Interwar Fiction.” Textual Practice, vol. 21, no. 3, 2007, pp. 457‒82.
Buck-Morss. “The Flaneur, the Sandwichman, and the Whore: The Politics of Loitering.” New German Critique, vol. 39, 1986, pp. 99‒140.
Butler, Judith. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex.’ Routledge, 1993.
Carbayo López de Pablo, Teresa. “Soledad y no-lugares: la mujer hopperiana en la novella de Jean Rhys Viaje a la oscuridad.” Dossiers Feministes, vol. 20, 2015, pp. 303‒19.
Collie, Natalie. “Walking in the City: Urban Space, Stories and Gender.” Gender Forum: An Internet Journal for Gender Studies, vol. 42, 2013, pp. 3‒14.
Cortés Vieco, Francisco José. “Vagabunda y cautiva en París: paisaje urbano de la vulnerabilidad femenina en las novelas de entreguerras de Jean Rhys.” Ángulo Recto: Revista de estudios sobre la ciudad como espacio plural, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 95‒114.
Davidson, Arnold. “The Dark is Light Enough: Affirmation from Despair in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight.” Contemporary Literature, vol. 24, no. 3, 1983, pp. 349‒64.
De Certeau, Michel. “Walking the City.” The Practice of Everyday Life, translated by Steven Rendall, 1980. U of California P, 1984, pp. 91‒110.
D’Souza, Aruna, and Tom McDonough, editors. The Invisible Flâneuse: Gender, Public Space and Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris. Manchester UP, 2006.
Emery, Mary Lou. Jean Rhys at ‘World’s End’: Novels of Colonial and Sexual Exile. U of Texas P, 1990.
Frickey, Pierrette M. Critical Perspectives on Jean Rhys. Three Continents Press, 1990.
Gardiner, Judith K. “Good Morning, Midnight; Good Night, Modernism.” Boundary, vol. 2, 1982‒83, pp. 233‒51.
Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism. Indiana U P, 1994.
Grosz, Elizabeth. “Bodies-Cities.” Sexuality and Spaces, edited by Beatriz Colomina and Jennifer Bloomer, Princeton Architectural Press, 2012, pp. 241‒53.
Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. 1962. Translated by Thomas Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence, Polity Press, 1989.
Howells, Coral Ann. Jean Rhys. Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991.
Huyssen, Andreas. “Mass Culture as Woman.” After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Indiana UP, 1987, pp. 39‒57.
Irigaray, Luce. This Sex Which Is Not One. 1977. Translated by Catherine Porter and Carolyn Burke. Cornell UP, 1985.
Lunbeck, Elizabeth. The Psychiatric Persuasion: Knowledge, Gender and Power in Modern America. Princeton UP, 1994.
Maurel, Sylvie. Jean Rhys. Macmillan, 1998.
Mellown, Elgin W. “Character and Themes in the Novels of Jean Rhys.” 1972. Critical Perspectives on Jean Rhys, edited by Pierrette M. Frickey, Three Continents Press, 1990, pp. 103‒07.
Nebeker, Helen. Jean Rhys: Woman in Passage. A Critical Study of the Novels of Jean Rhys. Eden, 1981.
Nord, Deborah E. Walking the Victorian Streets: Women, Representation, and the City. Oxford UP, 2000.
Rhys, Jean. Good Morning, Midnight. 1967. Penguin, 1969.
Riviere, Joan. “Womanliness as Masquerade.” International Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 3, 1929, pp. 303‒13.
Russo, Mary. “Female Grotesques: Carnival and Theory.” Feminist Studies/Critical Studies 1986. Edited by Teresa de Lauretis, Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1988, pp. 213‒27.
Staley, Thomas F. Jean Rhys: A Critical Study. Macmillan, 1979.
Wilson, Elizabeth. The Sphinx in the City: Urban Life, the Control of Disorder, and Women. U of California P, 1991.
Wilson, Elizabeth. “The Invisible Flâneur.” New Left Review, vol. 191, no. I, 1992, pp. 90‒110.
Wolfe, Peter. Jean Rhys. G. K. Hall, 1990.
Wolff, Janet. “The Invisible Flâneuse; Women and the Literature of Modernity.” Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 2, no. 3, 1985, pp. 37‒46.
Zimmerman, Emma. “‘Always the same stairs, always the same room’: The Uncanny Architecture of Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight.” Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 38, no. 4, 2015, pp. 74‒92.
Zimring, Rishona. “The Make-up of Jean Rhys’s fiction.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 33, no. 3, 2000, pp. 212‒34.
Copyright (c) 2018 Laura de la Parra Fernández
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The articles published at ES Review. Spanish Journal of English Studies will have a “Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial” (CC-BY-NC) license.
The journal allows the authors to retain publishing rights. Authors may reprint their articles in other media without having to request authorization, provided they indicate that the article was originally published in ES Review. Spanish Journal of English Studies.