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'Dancers and champagne' - A Farewell Party Planned

'Dancers and champagne' - A Farewell Party Planned by RHYS, Jean [Isobel English] (1971)
Author: RHYS, Jean [Isobel English]
Title: Three Jean Rhys letters to Isobel English
Year: 1971
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Devon & London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
Price: £225
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Added under Manuscripts  

[pp] 7. In a spidery hand writing in her early eighties Jean Rhys plans a spectacular 'farewell party' in the longest of these three letters to her friend the novelist Isobel English. Writing to English under her given name of June Braybrooke from her home in Devon, Rhys addresses 'My dear June' and quickly launches into her fantasy 'some friends came to see me. We tried several Drinks and when they'd gone I finished the bottle, found an old file and perhaps that was why I started planning a farewell party. I decided everything, food, drinks, music, Chinese lanterns in the garden (are there still Chinese lanterns?) In some miraculous way Id smooth out what ought to be a lawn so that people could Dance and I'd sit with my cronies watching the Dancers and drinking champagne. I planned to ask everybody even the ones who don't like me...' Only when her hangover kicked in the following morning did Rhys realise 'that is was impossible! A pity - as it would have been a famous farewell party to all and one last touch.' The letter ends tantalisingly 'The story drags on. Only obstinacy keeps me at it. It's no good but I like the title' (probably one of the stories in My Day, published in 1975). In her second letter Rhys discusses a recent holiday and in the final letter from 1973 Rhys writes to Nevil Braybrooke mentioning June's 'illness' and arranging to meet. Jean Rhys achieved later career success with the publication of Wide Sargasso Sea though she always said that she would have preferred happiness to good writing.
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