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West, Rebecca

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

Pseudonym of UK journalist and author Cicily Isabel Fairfield Andrews (1892-1983), H G Wells's partner 1913-1923; she also wrote as by Lynx. She began to publish her astute and polemical nonfiction around 1911; her first novel, The Return of the Soldier (1918), which stretches its nonfantastic mode to the limit, stands as a very early response to the profound trauma of World War One. The soldier, who is a victim of shell shock, manifests his deep disorder through Amnesia, and remembers nothing of the previous fifteen years: mentally he remains in an Edwardian summer. West is of sf interest for her third novel, Harriet Hume: A London Fantasy (1929), whose protagonist's power of Telepathy renders her intolerable to her self-serving aspirational lover; the tale climaxes as a Posthumous Fantasy [for this term, and for a different take on Rebecca West, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The Modern "Rake's Progress" (1934), written to extensive illustrations by David Low (1891-1963), is contemporary Satire, with small touches of the fantastic.

The sharp critical anatomies assembled as Lions and Lambs (coll 1928) as by Lynx, again illustrated by David Low, target a wide range of figures, including Hilaire Belloc, Lord Birkenhead, G K Chesterton, Winston Churchill, Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw, H G Wells. West's nonfiction tends in general not to focus on the fantastic, though The Court and the Castle: Some Treatments of a Recurring Theme (1957) deals in part with Franz Kafka. Rebecca West was appointed CBE in 1949 and DBE in 1959. [JC]

Cicily [born Cecily] Isabel Fairfield Andrews

born London: 21 December 1892

died London: 15 March 1983

works (highly selected)



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