Jean Rhys, a native of Dominica, wrote Wide Sargasso Sea as a revision of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, focusing her novel on Bertha, the Jamaican madwoman locked in the attic of the British manor house. Written over the course of twenty-one years and published in 1966, Wide Sargasso Sea was immediately recognized as a central novel for those interested in colonialism, Caribbean culture, race, and women's writing. It is set in Jamaica, Dominica, and England between 1839 and 1845 and describes a world of changing power relations among the English, the Creoles, and the nevvly emancipated slaves. The novel is considered a literary masterpiece for its simple yet rich language and its innovative narrative structure. The text of this Norton Critical Edition is accompanied by annotations that assist readers in understanding the historical background, regional and cultural references, and Creole and French phrases necessary for a full appreciation of the novel. "Backgrounds" provides a wealth of material, including generous excerpts from Rhys's correspondence during the novel's long evolution, relevant passages of Jane Eyre, and the author's autobiographical impressions of growing up in Dominica. "Criticism" introduces readers to the Critical debates inspired by the novel, with works by Derek Walcott, Mary Lou Emery Michael Thorpe, Kenneth Ramchand, Wilson Harris, Sandra Drake, Lee Erwin, Caroline Rody, Mona Fayad, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Benita Parry, and Judith Raiskin. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.