Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Becoming Bertha: Virtual difference and repetition in postcolonial 'writing back', a Deleuzian reading of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


School/Research organisations


Critical responses to Wide Sargasso Sea have seized upon Rhys's novel as an exemplary model of writing back. Looking beyond the actual repetitions which recall Brontë’s text, I explore Rhys's novel as an expression of virtual difference and becomings that exemplify Deleuze's three syntheses of time. Elaborating the processes of becoming that Deleuze's third synthesis depicts, Antoinette's fate emerges not as a violence against an original identity. Rather, what the reader witnesses is a series of becomings or masks, some of which are validated, some of which are not, and it is in the rejection of certain masks, forcing Antoinette to become-Bertha, that the greatest violence lies.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-41
JournalDeleuze Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

    Research areas

  • Caribbean literature-20th century-History and criticism, Deleuze, Gilles , Postcolonialism in literature , Jean Rhys, Continental philosophy, Wide Sargasso Sea, Difference and Repetition, Writing back, Becoming

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Introduction: World Literature and Dissent

    Katie Muth & Burns, L. M. (ed.), Sep 2019, World Literature and Dissent. Routledge, p. 1-12

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  2. Rhetoric of Innocence or literary dissent? Franco Moretti, world-systems theory and the case of magical realism

    Burns, L. M., Sep 2019, World Literature and Dissent. Burns, L. & Muth, K. (eds.). Routledge, p. 66–84

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  3. World Literature and Dissent

    Burns, L. M. (ed.) & Muth, K. R. (ed.), Sep 2019, Routledge.

    Research output: Other contribution

  4. Postcolonialism after world literature: relation, equality, dissent

    Burns, L., 16 May 2019, London: Bloomsbury Academic. 255 p. (New horizons in contemporary writing)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  5. Symptoms of a Malaise: Diagnosing Post-War Caribbean Identity in An Island is a World and I Hear Thunder

    Burns, L. M., 2016, Beyond Calypso: Re-reading Samuel Selvon. McIntosh, M. (ed.). Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Related by journal

  1. Deleuze Studies (Journal)

    David Martin-Jones (Member of editorial board)


    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Towards Another '-Image': Deleuze, Narrative Time and Popular Indian Cinema

    Martin-Jones, D., Jun 2008, In: Deleuze Studies. 2, 1, p. 25-48

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 27444306