Rebecca West, was the pen name of Cicely Fairfield. She was born in Kerry, Ireland in 1892 and educated in Scotland, at George Watson's Ladies' College in Edinburgh. In 1910 she attended the Academy of Dramatic Art and worked briefly as an actress. She then turned to journalism and took the pen name Rebecca West after the heroine of a play by Henrik Ibsen called Rosmersholm.
West was always a strong supporter of women's rights, first writing for The Freewoman and later became a reporter for The Clarion. She wrote articles for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines including The Daily News, The Star, The New Statesman and New Republic. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).
In 1912 she became the lover of the British novelist H. G. Wells and later that year gave birth to his son, Anthony, who took her surname.
During the politically turbulent 1930s, West remained interested in politics from a left-wing position. Like so many writers of the period, she supported the Popular Front government during the Spanish Civil War. She joined with other prominent writers and speakers in setting up the Committee to Aid Homeless Spanish Women and Children.
However, after World War II, her political positions became more conservative and she wrote for more right-wing publications including the Daily Telegraph. She continued to publish many books and newspaper and magazine articles until her death in 1985.
The Rebecca West Society
Bernard Schweizer, a scholar of Rebecca West's work, her grand niece Helen Macleod Atkinson, and her biographer Carl Rollyson jointly founded The International Rebecca West Society in 2003, to encourage interest in Rebecca West's work among academics, politicians, philosophers, journalists and feminists. They organize conferences and publish academic papers on different aspects of her life and work.
Novels and other full-length works
- Return of the Soldier (1918)
- The Judge (1922)
- The Strange Necessity (1928)
- Harriet Hume (1929).
- D.H.Lawrence (1930)
- The Meaning of Treason (1949)
- The Fountain Overflows (1957)
- The Court and the Castle (1958)
- The Birds Fall Down (1966)
- McLuhan and the Future of Literature (1969)
- 1900 (1982)
"The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots."