Rebecca West - Author, Timeline and Family

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Rebecca West's Personal Details

Rebecca West was a writer known for her fierce feminism and liberal political views

InformationDetail
BirthdayDecember 21, 1892
Died onMarch 15, 1983
NationalityBritish
FamousAuthor, Feminists, Writers
SpousesHenry Maxwell Andrews
SiblingsLetitia, Winifred
Childrens Anthony West
Universities
  • George Watson's College
Birth PlaceLondon
ReligionChristian
GenderFemale
FatherCharles Fairfield
MotherIsabella
Sun SignSagittarius
Born inLondon
Famous asBritish author
Died at Age90

// Famous Author

Rebecca West's photo

Who is Rebecca West?

Rebecca West was once considered to be "the world's number one woman writer" for her works that covered many genres including politics, traveling, socialism, and feminism. Known for her fiercely independent nature and strong political views, she dared to defy the accepted norms the society expected women to follow during her times. A prolific writer and literary critic, she had reviewed books for several famous publications like ‘The New York Herald Tribune’, ‘New Republic’ and the ‘Sunday Telegraph’. A woman of strong character, she was noted for her feministic views and was a staunch supporter of the women’s suffrage movement. Counted among the foremost political and intellectual thinkers of the 20th century, she was acquainted with several other modernist writers. She wrote the novel ‘The Return of the Soldier’ which was the first World War I novel written by a woman. Her novels were often based on the themes of love, romance, politics, and history. A believer in free-love, she had a long term affair with the writer H.G.Wells and had a son with her. Even though she was recognized and respected well during her lifetime, her fame declined after her death. The once highly renowned author has now become an obscure name that not many contemporary readers are aware of.

// Famous Feminists

Childhood & Early Life

She was born as Cicely Isabel Fairfield in London. Her father, Charles Fairfield was a journalist while her mother Isabella was an accomplished pianist before marriage. She had two sisters.

She grew up in an atmosphere full of intellectual and political discussions, good books and music. However, things changed when her father deserted the family when she was eight years old.

She was educated at George Watson’s Ladies College in Edinburgh, Scotland. But, she had to drop out in 1907 because of tuberculosis and could not receive any further formal education as she lacked the funds.

She was of a rebellious and independent nature and studied theatre at the Academy of Dramatic Art (1910–11) with the initial ambition of becoming an actress. During this time she adopted the name ‘Rebecca West’ from the heroine in Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Rosmersholm’.

She along with her sister Lettie became dedicated campaigners for women’s suffrage and often participated in street protests.

Career

In 1911, West found employment as a journalist for the feminist weekly ‘The Freewoman’ which was published by three women’s suffrage campaigners, Dora Marsden, Grace Jardine and Mary Gawthorpe.

She wrote an article on free-love for the first edition of the journal ‘The Freewoman’ which created quite a stir. She gained many admirers for her bold language as well as several critics.

She joined the Fabian Society—a socialist debating group—and became very active in the socialist movement. She also became acquainted with George Bernard Shaw during this time.

In 1912, she began working for ‘The Clarion’, a weekly dedicated to socialism and socialistic causes. The journal published 34 of her articles over the next 16 months.

She regularly wrote for a number of newspapers and journals including ‘The Freewoman’ from 1912 to 1916. The feminist publication ‘The Freewoman’ addressed several issues of social inequalities faced by women.

Her debut novel ‘The Return of the Soldier’ was first published in 1918. The novel focused on the life of a captain who returns shell-shocked from the World War I and how his life and family is affected by the trauma. The novel was later made into a film of the same name in 1982.

After the World War I she worked as a book critic for ‘New Statesman and Nation’. She wrote about travel for ‘New Republic’ in 1923 and was made the first woman reporter in the House of Commons in 1924.

During 1920s, she wrote two novels—‘The Judge’ (1922) which was an existential tale that combined Freudian themes with suffrage and ‘Harriet Hume’ (1929) which was a modernist story about a pianist and her obsessive lover.

She released ‘The Harsh Voice: Four Short Novels’ in 1935 which included the story ‘There is No Conversation’ which was adapted into an hour-long radio drama in 1950 on NBC University Theatre.

She worked as a reporter during the 1940s and 1950s and covered many trials concerning espionage and treason. Instead of just reporting the facts, she tried to understand the psychology behind such activities and what motivated the accused to commit such crimes.

Major Works

She was an independent minded woman writer known for her sharp wit and fearless journalism and literary criticism. She is credited to be the first woman to have written a novel on World War I and also the first woman reporter in the House of Commons.

Awards & Achievements

She was made a dame commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1959 in recognition of her outstanding contributions to British letters.

Personal Life & Legacy

She had a romantic affair with the writer H.G.Wells in 1913. This relationship lasted for ten years and produced a son. She was also said to have been involved with the actor Charlie Chaplin.

She married a banker, Henry Maxwell Andrews in 1930. Their marriage lasted till Henry’s death in 1968.

She always believed in helping the underprivileged and provided accommodation to a group of Yugoslav refuges during World War II. She had also collaborated with the likes of Emma Goldman and Sybil Thorndyke to establish the Committee to Aid Homeless Spanish Women and Children after the Spanish Civil War.

She led an active lifestyle well into her old age and died at the ripe old age of 90 in 1983.

Trivia

Robert D. Kaplan called her book ‘Black Lamb and Grey Falcon’ "this century's greatest travel book".

A female Canadian rock group headed by Alison Outhit is named after this great activist cum writer.

// Famous Writers

Rebecca West awards

YearNameAward

Other

1948 - Women's Press Club Award for Journalism

Rebecca West biography timelines

  • // 21st Dec 1892
    She was born as Cicely Isabel Fairfield in London. Her father, Charles Fairfield was a journalist while her mother Isabella was an accomplished pianist before marriage. She had two sisters.
  • // 1907
    She was educated at George Watson’s Ladies College in Edinburgh, Scotland. But, she had to drop out in 1907 because of tuberculosis and could not receive any further formal education as she lacked the funds.
  • // 1911
    In 1911, West found employment as a journalist for the feminist weekly ‘The Freewoman’ which was published by three women’s suffrage campaigners, Dora Marsden, Grace Jardine and Mary Gawthorpe.
  • // 1912
    In 1912, she began working for ‘The Clarion’, a weekly dedicated to socialism and socialistic causes. The journal published 34 of her articles over the next 16 months.
  • // 1912 To 1916
    She regularly wrote for a number of newspapers and journals including ‘The Freewoman’ from 1912 to 1916. The feminist publication ‘The Freewoman’ addressed several issues of social inequalities faced by women.
  • // 1913
    She had a romantic affair with the writer H.G.Wells in 1913. This relationship lasted for ten years and produced a son. She was also said to have been involved with the actor Charlie Chaplin.
  • // 1918
    Her debut novel ‘The Return of the Soldier’ was first published in 1918. The novel focused on the life of a captain who returns shell-shocked from the World War I and how his life and family is affected by the trauma. The novel was later made into a film of the same name in 1982.
  • // 1923
    After the World War I she worked as a book critic for ‘New Statesman and Nation’. She wrote about travel for ‘New Republic’ in 1923 and was made the first woman reporter in the House of Commons in 1924.
  • // 1930 To 1968
    She married a banker, Henry Maxwell Andrews in 1930. Their marriage lasted till Henry’s death in 1968.
  • // 1935
    She released ‘The Harsh Voice: Four Short Novels’ in 1935 which included the story ‘There is No Conversation’ which was adapted into an hour-long radio drama in 1950 on NBC University Theatre.
  • // 1959
    She was made a dame commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1959 in recognition of her outstanding contributions to British letters.
  • // 15th Mar 1983
    She led an active lifestyle well into her old age and died at the ripe old age of 90 in 1983.

// Famous British

Rebecca West's FAQ

  • What is Rebecca West birthday?

    Rebecca West was born at 1892-12-21

  • When was Rebecca West died?

    Rebecca West was died at 1983-03-15

  • Where was Rebecca West died?

    Rebecca West was died in London

  • Which age was Rebecca West died?

    Rebecca West was died at age 90

  • Where is Rebecca West's birth place?

    Rebecca West was born in London

  • What is Rebecca West nationalities?

    Rebecca West's nationalities is British

  • Who is Rebecca West spouses?

    Rebecca West's spouses is Henry Maxwell Andrews

  • Who is Rebecca West siblings?

    Rebecca West's siblings is Letitia, Winifred

  • Who is Rebecca West childrens?

    Rebecca West's childrens is Anthony West

  • What was Rebecca West universities?

    Rebecca West studied at George Watson's College

  • What is Rebecca West's religion?

    Rebecca West's religion is Christian

  • Who is Rebecca West's father?

    Rebecca West's father is Charles Fairfield

  • Who is Rebecca West's mother?

    Rebecca West's mother is Isabella

  • What is Rebecca West's sun sign?

    Rebecca West is Sagittarius

  • How famous is Rebecca West?

    Rebecca West is famouse as British author