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Archive for the ‘Jean Rhys’ Category

Wel mae llond o bethau wedi digwydd ers i mi sgwennu’r golofn ddiwethaf. Fy newyddion fwyaf yw fy mod wedi ymgeisio am swydd fel ‘Darlithydd mewn Polisi Cymdeithasol (Cyfrwng Gymraeg)’…ac wedi ei glanio hi! Ie wir, doeddwn i ddim wedi bwriadu ymgeisio am swydd newydd mor fuan ar ôl cychwyn ym mhrifysgol Bangor, yn enwedig gan fy mod yn mwynhau’r prosiect ymchwil presennol cymaint. Ond yn y bôn, nod yr holl astudio ac ymdrechu dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf oedd cael swydd fel darlithydd – ac rwy’n lwcus dros ben fy mod wedi ei chael hi. Ar ben yr anrhydedd o gael swydd fel darlithydd, fydd y fraint gen i addysgu a gweithio yn hollol trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg; dwi wrth fy modd a bron methu coelio’r peth – dwi’n teimlo fatha Mair Llywarch! Mae sgwennu’r golofn yma dros y chwe blynedd diwethaf wedi bod yn hyfforddiant ardderchog i mi, wrth i mi orfod estyn y geiriadur i ysgrifennu am bethau a llefydd nad oeddwn wedi dysgu na chlywed amdanynt trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg – gan gynnwys tre’r penrhyn!

Byddaf yn dechrau fy swydd newydd ar y cyntaf o fis Medi. Yn y cyfamser rwyf yn parhau a fy mhrosiect presennol am gymdeithas sifil yng Nghymru, mewn lle a thros amser. Rwy’n gwneud yr ymchwil yn Rhosllannerchrugog a Llangollen, gan ystyried y cysylltiadau rhyngddynt yn ogystal â’r gwahaniaethau. Oherwydd natur ddwyieithog yr ardaloedd hyn, mae llawer o’r gwaith yn galw i mi wneud cyfweliadau a mynychu digwyddiadau ayyb trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg; fysai’r ymchwil yn llawer iawn gwannach a llai cynhwysfawr heb yr allu i weithio’n ddwyieithog. Byddaf yn parhau i weithio ar yr ymchwil yma trwy’r haf a hefyd pan wyf yn cychwyn fel darlithydd, gan fod elfen ymchwil i fy nghyfamod. Mae’n sefyllfa ddelfrydol ac rwy’n ffeindio’n hun unwaith eto’n hynod o ddiolchgar fy mod wedi derbyn magwraeth ac addysg Gymraeg sydd wedi fy ngalluogi i fod yn y sefyllfa fendigedig yma.

Mewn newyddion arall, rwyf newydd ymaelodi fel un o ‘Cyfeillion Y Stiwt’ ac rwy’n edrych ymlaen at drefnu digwyddiadau hwyl ene, gan gynnwys rhai cyfrwng Gymraeg. Rwy’n hoffi meddwl byddai fy hynafiaid sy’n hanu o’r ardal hon yn browd o honnaf – gan gynnwys rhieni fy nain, sef Margaret Jones a John Earnest Jones (yntau’n mwynwr a hithau’n merch mwynwr, fel rwyf newydd ddysgu…ond fwy am hyn mewn colofn ar y gweill…). Yn wir mae hanes ardal y Rhos yn gyfareddol – roedd yn bair o Gymreictod, gyda’r boblogaeth yn cael ei denu o bob cornel ein cenedl hyfryd. Creuwyd yr arloeswyr yma diwylliant a thafodiaith arbennig ac unigryw, gan greu adeiladau anhygoel tra roeddynt wrthi’n creu ei chymuned ddeinamig; mae’r Stiwt yn un o’r adeiladau hyn – yn wir mae’n adeilad anhygoel i dref, heb son am bentref!

Yn y cyfamser, dros y misoedd diwethaf, wrth weithio ym Mangor, rwyf wedi dod yn ymwybodol o dwf cyffroes yn yr allbwn o Wyddonias Cyfrwng Gymraeg – pan ysgrifennais fy ail golofn Synfyfyrion Llenyddol ar y mater o wyddonias Gymraeg (Rhagfyr 2009: Roddenberry, Atwood…ac Islwyn Ffowc Elis! Tarddiad ‘Gwyddonias’ Cymraeg) roedd ddim llawer ar gael. Felly dwn i’m beth sy’n gyfrifol am y twf diweddar yma, ond rwy’n edrych ymlaen at dal i fynnu hefo hyn dros yr haf cw…efallai hefo lasiad o win yn yr ardd. Ac mae hyn wedi rhoi’r syniad i mi am ddigwyddiad posib i’w chynnal yn y dyfodol agos: ‘Comicon (Comicon) Cyfrwng Cymraeg’ – y cyntaf erioed! Rwyf wedi cael ymateb ffafriol yn barod gan rhai o fy ffrindiau ar drydar ac rwy’n rhagweld ymateb ffafriol gan y ‘Sin Gwyddonias Gymraeg’ yn gyffredinol.

Rwy’n gallu ei gweld hi rŵan (yn steil Marlow yn The Singing Detective, neu Dale Cooper yn Twin Peaks), fydd yna sesiynau panel hefo sêr y sin yn trafod ei gwaith, gweithdai ‘masterclass’ i blant ar sut i sgwennu gwyddonias (gan efallai ei chysylltu hefo cystadlaethau llenyddol, megis yr eisteddfodau), cystadlaethau gwisg ffansi gorau (dwi am fynd fel She-ra), stondinau nwyddau SciFi, cystadlaethau ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ , ‘Tri-dimensional chess’ a gemau tebyg, bwydydd ‘themed’ megis punch mewn steil y ddiod Klingon enwog ‘bloodwine’, ac wrth gwrs llawer iawn o drafodaethau yn y bar am y Gwyddonias gorau (mewn unrhyw iaith) a’r fath o wyddonias rydym ni’n gobeithio ei weld yn y dyfodol trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.

Gobeithio y caf wireddu fy mreuddwyd o Gomicon Cyfrwng Gymraeg, ond beth bynnag, mae’r dyfodol ar hyn o bryd yn edrych yn addawol iawn i mi – ac mae fy nyfodol, i’w weld hefo naws Gymreigaidd iawn arni. Felly, yn eiriau’r Picard (gan ddychmygu ei fod o Rhos): Gadewch i ni weld beth sydd allan ene…

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           I was studying English literature A-level when I was first captivated by the work of the author Jean Rhys; we were studying her most famous book: Wide Sargasso Sea. To my great surprise at the time this novel, which was presented to us as ‘fan-fiction’ to Jane Eyre, captured the imagination from its opening line. It was exotic and exciting, and with an emotional torture scene akin to that of the physical torture of Bond in Casino Royale, it was far more interesting than Charlotte Brontë’s novel!

            Wide Sargasso Sea offers a possible history for the first Mrs. Rochester, Bertha Mason, who we meet somewhere near the middle of Jane Eyre. The story begins by tracing her childhood as young Creole, raised in Jamaica in the 1830s. This was an uncertain time for the colonial white community who owned large, grand estates whilst the native, black population lived in poverty.

            She meets the young Edward Rochester and, in an unwise and fateful decision, she agrees to marry him. The story then follows her demise at the hands of Rochester who, upon learning of the ‘madness’ of her mother, treats her cruelly and with contempt, before dragging her back to England and locking her in the attic of Thornfield hall. He places her under the care of Grace Poole on grounds that she herself is ‘mad’ and the ending dovetails perfectly with the account given in Jane Eyre of the death of Rochester’s wife in the fire at Thornfield, which she herself causes.

           The story is an astute exploration of the subjective nature of ‘madness’. As a colonial herself, raised in Dominica, Jean Rhys felt strongly that Charlotte Brontë’s portrayal of the Creole wife was unfair, prejudiced and one-sided. She therefore set about presenting an alternative perspective, based partly on her own childhood memories and also drawing on stories told to her by her great aunt (who would have been young in the 1830s which is the period in which the book is set). Rhys’s is a very different picture, presenting an innocent young girl, driven ‘mad’ by circumstances beyond her control.

            The genius of the work is the panoramic perspective achieved through the switching of narrative between Antoinette (Bertha’s birth-name according to the story) and the young Edward Rochester. Interestingly, according to Jean’s own words in a letter to one of her friends, the inspiration for this writing device came from the fact that she and her ex-husband, Jean Lenglet, had written individual accounts of their divorce: ‘Quartet’ a ‘Barred’ respectively. Also, somewhat bizarrely, Jean herself had taken on the arduous task of translating ‘Barred’ for Lenglet and went to great lengths to get it published.

            I enjoyed the novel immensely and the images remained clearly in my mind long after I left school. Then, some years later, as I lay in bed, too sick to go to work, I was searching the book shelf for something absorbing to read and I reached for my old, full-of-notes copy of ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’.

           Upon reading the preface I realised for the first time that Jean was of partly Welsh extraction. Her mother’s family were Creole, of Scottish extraction originally, and had lived in Dominica for several generations. Her Father, Dr Rees Williams, was a doctor from Cyffylliog in Denbighshire, where her Grandfather, William Rees Williams, was a rector for 26 years.

            Having re-read Wide Sargasso Sea and enjoyed it immensely, and intrigued by the Welsh connection, I bought one of her other (slightly less) well-known novels: Good morning Midnight. As I sat and read this bleak stream of consciousness I experienced an eerie epiphany, akin to that described by Lori Lieberman of hearing Don McLean sing for the first time. Like Lieberman I felt that this author, who (somewhat spookily) died in the year of my birth (1979), was “killing me softly with her words” laying my secrets and innermost thoughts out for the crowd o judge. There were hundreds of tiny similarities and I became fascinated with both work and author.

            Jean was proud of her mixed heritage, particularly the Welsh side of her family – perhaps because she had felt closer to her father than her mother; her novels and short stories are peppered with references to her Welshness, including the names of her characters and comments on the behaviour and characteristics of ‘the English’ (from whom it is often clear she is keen to distinguish herself from).

           She appears to have suffered from chronic fatigue, of spirit was well as of the body. However, according to the author Francis Wyndham, this did not stop her from enjoying herself; she was a good friend and took great delight in the small pleasures in life, whether an old tune or the perfect cocktail. She was a dreamer, given to musing and had perfected the ‘Melys Wylo’ (sweet weeping) described by the poet ‘Crwys’. She was also an exile: in Dominica, in England, in Wales and in Paris. The stories set in Paris allude to a love-hate relationship with the city and this resonated with my feelings of living in Liverpool for ten years.

              With my imagination awakened, I set about obtaining and reading everything she had ever written and then scoured the web for more information about her. I learned that she was born Ella Gwendoline Rees Williams in 1890 in Roseau, Dominica and that she had come to England with her father at the age of sixteen to be educated. Here she convinced her father to allow her to switch from her all-girls school to the Academy of Dramatic Art to follow her dream of being an actress. However following the death of her father she was instructed to return to Dominica as her family could not afford to sustain her life in England. Unhappy at this prospect she secretly auditioned for a job as a chorus girl and, having been successful in securing this job, she informed her family that she would be staying in London. It was here that she had a disastrous love affair with an older man and then suffered what appears to have been a long bout of depression and financial dependence on her former lover; she drifted for a few years, taking a variety of unsatisfactory jobs.

              A turning point in Jean’s life came when she met and fell in love with Jean Lenglet, a chansonnier of Dutch extraction; they married and moved to Paris. However Jean’s happiness was to be short lived and tragedy often seemed just around the corner. The death of her first child resulted in a move to Vienna and a new job for Lenglet which appeared to provide him with the opportunity to make lots of money. However following a brief period of affluence and luxury, which Jean later termed ‘the spending phase’ the couple were forced to flee Vienne (with Jean being pregnant with her second child by this time) after some of Lenglet’s business ventures went awry. They eventually found themselves back in Paris where, in 1923, Lenglet was arrested leaving Jean all alone to fend for herself. With no money and few means by which to obtain any, Jean often had to leave her daughter, Maryvonne, in the care of others, while she herself moved in with the writer and publisher Ford Maddox Ford and his common-law wife Stella Bowen.

               It was under Ford’s guidance that she began writing and her first short story, Vienne, was published in Ford’s literary magazine: The Transatlantic Review. It was also Ford who suggested she write under the nom de plume Jean Rhys – which she reflected in one letter “might bring her luck”. It was also here, however, that she was also drawn into a painful ménage à trois with Ford and Stella, and her marriage to Lenglet collapsed as a result. Jean fictionalised this bizarre relationship and produced her first novel Quartet which was met with some critical acclaim for its writing style, despite some raised eyebrows and distain for the subject matter. She went on to publish three more novels: After Leaving Mr Mackenzie, Voyage in the Dark and Good Morning Midnight. Each one is written in a timeless and absorbing style which transports the reader into the world of the characters.

             In many ways she was the Carrie Bradshaw of her era, exploring sexuality, relationships and female existentialism with startling honesty and clarity. But whilst her early work was appreciated by a discerning minority it never brought the success or financial security she craved – perhaps because the world wasn’t quite ready for Sex and the City! Whatever the reason, she disappeared from sight for almost 20 years, and was widely thought to be dead, with brief ventures back into the literary world prompted by the interest of actress Selma Vaz Dias in producing stage versions of Good morning midnight.

               Then in 1966 she made a sensational reappearance with Wide Sargasso Sea which won the prestigious ‘Royal Society of Literature Award’ and the W.H.Smith Award. By this time Jean was 76 years of age and her only comment on the awards was “It has come too late”. I felt especially sad about this when I read the ‘Jean Rhys Letters 1931 – 1966’ compilation and realised that she had the foundation for the story of Rochester’s first wife since the 1940s and thus it had been on the back burner for almost 20 years. She was prevented from completing it sooner by the cycle of poverty in which she found herself, moving from one shabby, temporary accommodation to the next, punctuated by her own periods of ill health as well as those of both her second and third husbands Leslie Tilden Smith and Max Hamer (and their subsequent deaths).

              Whist she finally found fame and recognition for Wide Sargasso Sea, which is now a firm favourite of the English literature curriculum, her name is still not as familiar to us today as those of her contemporaries, for example D.H.Lawrence, and much of her work remains bafflingly out of print and difficult to obtain.

Jean Rhys died on the 14th of May 1979, at the age of 84, having lived much of her life in poverty and obscurity. Now, 30 years after her death, I feel it is fitting to pay tribute to this unique Welsh woman who succeeded, against all odds, to create astonishing literature that is as fresh and relevant today as it was when it was written.

This article was the first one written for my column Synfyfyrion Llenyddol (literary musings) which appears in each issue of Y Clawdd, the Welsh-language community magazine for the Wrecsam area. It was published in October 2009 (Issue 135) and then posted here on the 27th of November 2009. I have translated it here so that everyone can enjoy it and I am currently working on a novella under the same title. / Dyma’r erthygl gyntaf i mi ei ysgrifennu i fy ngholofn Synfyfyrion llenyddol sy’n ymddangos ym mhob cyfrol o Y Clawdd, papur bro ardal Wrecsam. Cafodd ei gyhoeddi ym mis Hydref 2009 (Rhifyn 135), ac yna ei postio yma ar y 27ain o fis Tachwedd 2009.  Yr wyf wedi ei cyfieithu fan hyn er mwyn i bawb cael ei fwynhau ac yr wyf ar hyn o bryd yn gweithio ar nofel byr o dan yr un teitl.

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Yr oeddwn wrthi’n astudio Llenyddiaeth Saesneg ar gyfer lefel A pan ges i fy swyno’n gyntaf gan waith yr awdures Jean Rhys, a hynny trwy ei llyfr enwocaf: Wide Sargasso Sea. Er mawr syndod i mi yr oedd y nofel yma, a chafodd ei chyflwyno i ni fel ‘ffan-ffictiwn’ i Jane Eyre, yn cydio yn y dychymyg o’r llinell gyntaf. Yr oedd yn egsotig a chyffroes, a chyda golygfa poenydied meddyliol megis poenydied corfforol Bond yn Casino Royale, mi roedd hi’n llawer iawn fwy dilys a diddorol na nofel Charlotte Brontë!

Y mae Wide Sargasso Sea yn cynnig hanes posib y Mrs.Rochester cyntaf, sef Bertha Mason, cyn i ni ei chwrdd â hi yn ganol y nofel Jane Eyre. Y mae’r stori yn cychwyn gan adrodd ei hanes yn ferch greolaidd ifainc a magwyd yn Jamaica yn yr 1830au. Y mae’n gyfnod o ansicrwydd a thrafferthion i’r gwladychwyr gwynion a oedd yn berchen ystadau mawr crand tra bod y boblogaeth frodorol, dduon yn byw mewn tlodi. Y mae hi’n cwrdd â’r Edward Rochester ifainc ac, mewn penderfyniad tyngedfennol, annoeth, y mae hi’n cytuno i’w briodi. Mae’r stori wedyn yn dilyn ei chymyniad yn nwylo Rochester. Wedi iddo ddysgu am ‘wallgofrwydd’ ei mam mae’n ei thrin yn greulon a dirmygus, cyn ei llusgo yn ôl i Loegr a’i chloi yn yr atig ym Mhlas Thornfield. Mae’n ei gosod dan ofal Grace Poole ar sail y ffaith fod hi ei hun yn ‘wallgof’. Y mae’r diweddglo’n tryfalu’n berffaith a’r adroddiad yn Jane Eyre o’i marwolaeth yn y tân yn Thornfield.

Mae’r stori’n arsylwad craff sy’n ystyried natur oddrychol ‘gwallgofrwydd’. Fel ‘gwladychiaethwr’ ei hun, wedi ei magu yn Nominica, roedd Jean Rhys yn teimlo’n gryf fod portread Charlotte Brontë o’r wraig greolaidd yn un annheg, rhagfarnllyd ac unochrog. Aeth ati felly, yn seiliedig ar ei phrofiadau ac atgofion ei hun, i gyflwyno portread gwrthrychol o ferch ifanc ddiniwed, a chafodd ei ymelwa a’i yrru’n benwan gan amgylchiadau tu hwnt i’w rheolaeth. Athrylith y gwaith yw’r newid persbectif sy’n deillio o switsio naratif rhwng Antoinette (enw genedigol Bertha yn ôl y stori) ac Edward Rochester. Yn ddiddorol iawn, yn ôl geiriau Jean ei hun mewn llythyr i ffrind, ddaeth yr ysbrydoliaeth i’r arddull yma o’r ffaith ei bod hithau a’i chyn-gŵr, Jean Lenglet, wedi ysgrifennu hanesion unigol o’i hysgariad, sef: ‘Quartet’ a ‘Barred’, yn ôl ei threfn.

Mwynheais y stori’n arw a pharhaodd y darlun yn glir yn fy nghof wedi i mi darfod ysgol. Yna, rhai blynyddoedd yn ddiweddarach, a finnau adre un diwrnod yn rhu sâl i fynd i fy ngwaith, dyma fi’n chwilio’r silff lyfrau am rywbeth i’w ddarllen gan estyn am ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’. Wrth ddarllen y rhagymadrodd, sylweddolais am y tro cyntaf mai o dras Cymraeg oedd Jean Rhys. Creolaidd oedd ei mam, o dras Albanaidd, wedi ei eni yn y ‘West Indies’ i deulu oedd wedi byw ene am sawl cenhedlaeth. Mi roedd ei thad, Dr Rees Williams, yn feddyg o Gyffylliog, Sir Ddinbych, lle fuodd ei thaid,  William Rees Williams, yn rheithor am 26 mlynedd.

Wedi ail ddarllen Wide Sargasso Sea a’i fwynhau yn arw, es ati i ddarllen un o’i llyfrau eraill adnabyddus sef Goodmorning Midnight. Wrth i mi ddarllen y llif ymwybod llwm yma mi ges i epiffani iasol, megis disgrifiad Lori Lieberman o glywed Don McLean am y tro cyntaf. Cytras a Lieberman teimlais fod yr awdures yma, a fu farw ym mlwyddyn fy ngenedigaeth (1979), yn fy “killing me softly with her words” gan amlygu fy nheimladau a chyfrinachau i bawb ei barnu. Yr oedd Jean yn falch iawn o’i dras Cymraeg a’i hunaniaeth gymysg ac mae sawl cyfeiriad at hyn yn ei llyfrau a straeon byr, gan gynnwys enwau ei chymeriadau a sylwebyddion am agweddau a bihafied ‘Saeson’. Yr oedd yn dioddef o flinder parhaol, ysbrydol a chorfforol, ond, yn ôl yr awdur Francis Wyndham, ni rwystrodd hyn arni’n mwynhau ei hun; mi roedd hi’n ffrind hynod a oedd yn gwerthfawrogi pleserau bach bywyd megis hen alaw neu goctel perffaith. Yr oedd yn synfyfyrwraig, wedi perffeithio’r ‘Melys Wylo’ a ddisgrifiwyd gan y bardd ‘Crwys’, ac mi roedd hi’n alltud; yn Nominica, yn Lloegr, yng Nghrymu ac ym Mharis. Y mae’r storïau sydd wedi ei lleoli ym Mharis yn crybwyll perthynas caru-casau a’r ddinas ac mi gydseiniodd hyn a fy nheimladau innau o fyw yn Lerpwl am ddeng mlynedd.

Gyda fy nychymyg wedi ei effro, es ati i ddarllen pob dim a sgwennodd hi erioed ac yna i bori’r we am ragor o fanylion amdani. Dysgais iddi gael ei eni’n Ella Gwendoline Rees Williams yn 1890 yn Roseau, Dominica, gan symud i Loegr yn un-ar-bymtheg oed lle fynychodd ysgol i enethod ac yna’r ‘Academy of Dramatic Art’. Wedi marwolaeth ei thad nid oedd pres ganddi i astudio a fuodd yn bwhwman o swydd i swydd, gan weithio fel côr-ferch, mannequin a model arlunydd. Chafodd carwriaeth drychinebus ac yna chyfnod o iselder ysbryd a dibyniaeth ariannol ar ei chyn cariad, yna priododd Jean Lenglet, chansonnier a newyddiadurwr Iseldireg a symudon nhw i Baris. Yn 1923 cafodd Lenglet ei arestio ac aeth Ella i fyw hefo Ford Madox Ford (nofelydd a chyhoeddwr adnabyddus) a’i gariad Stella Bowen. Tra bu’n byw hefo nhw, ddechreuodd ysgrifennu a chafodd ei stori fer gyntaf, Vienne,  ei chyhoeddi gan Ford yn ei gylchgrawn The Transatlantic Review, o dan y nome de plume ‘Jean Rhys’ a ddyfeisiwyd iddi gan Ford. Yma hefyd y cafodd ei rhwydo i fénage à trois boenus hefo Ford a Stella, a chwalodd ei phriodas hefo Lenglet o ganlyniad. Pum mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, cyhoeddodd Jean y nofel Quartet yn ffuglenoli y perthynas bisâr yma.

Aeth ymlaen i gyhoeddi tair nofel arall sef: After Leaving Mr Mackenzie, Voyage in the Dark a Good Morning Midnight. Mae pob un wedi ei hysgrifennu mewn steil diamser, gyda thameidiau o Gymreictod trwyddynt, ac yn cludo’r darllenwr i fydoedd ei chymeriadau. Mi roedd yn Carrie Bradshaw ei chyfnod, yn trafod rhywioldeb, perthnasoedd a dirfodaeth fenywaidd gyda didwylledd ac eglurder brawychus. Cafodd ei gwaith cynnar ei werthfawrogi gan leiafrif gwahaniaethol, ond ni ddaeth a’r llwyddiant na’r sicrwydd ariannol a hiraethodd amdanynt; ella oherwydd nad oedd y byd cweit yn barod am Sex and the City. Ddisgynnodd o’r golwg am bron i ugain mlynedd nes iddi ffeindio cydnabyddiaeth o’r diwedd yn 1966 gyda Wide Sargasso Sea a enillodd y ‘Royal Society of Literature Award’ a’r W.H.Smith Award. A hithau’n 76 mlwydd oed erbyn hyn, ei hunig sylw ar y gwobrwyon oedd: “It has come too late”. Teimlais dristwch ychwanegol am hyn wrth ddarllen y llyfr ‘Jean Rhys Letters 1931 – 1966’ a sylweddoli fod ganddi’r sylfaen am stori Mrs. Rochester ers y 1940au ac roedd felly ar y gweill ganddi am dros i ugain mlynedd. Cafodd ei rhwystro rhag ei chwblhau yn gynt, fodd bynnag, gan aflwydd a thlodi, gan gynnwys gorfod symud yn aml rhwng tai afler wedi ei rhentu dros dro a marwolaeth ei ail a thrydydd ŵyr sef Leslie Tilden Smith a Max Hamer. Er iddi ennill clod a ffawd am Wide Sargasso Sea, a chyhoeddodd nifer o straeon byr yn ei sgil, nid yw ei henw mor gyfarwydd inni heddiw ag y mae rhai o’i chyfoeswyr, megis D.H.Lawrence, ac y mae llawer o’i gwaith yn parhau i fod allan o brint ag yn anodd ei mofyn.

Fu i Jean Rhys farw ar 14eg o fis Mai, 1979, yn 84 oed ar ôl byw rhan helaeth o’i bywyd mewn tlodi a dinodedd. Y nawr, 30 mlynedd ar ôl iddi farw, teimlaf ei bod yn weddus i dalu teyrnged i’r Gymraes unigryw yma a llwyddodd, er gwaethaf pob rhwystr, i greu llenyddiaeth ryfeddol sydd mor ffres a pherthnasol heddiw a phan wnaeth hi ei sgwennu.

Cyhoeddir yn wreiddiol yn fy ngholofn: Synfyfyrion llenyddol, ym mhapur bro Wrecsam: Y Clawdd,  Hydref 2009 (Rhifyn 135)/ Originally published in my column: Synfyfyrion llenyddol (literary musings), in the Welsh language community magazine: Y Clawdd, October 2009(Issue 135).

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