Rebecca West

(1892 - 1983)

Born Cicily Isabel Fairfield—she took her pseudonym from the Henrik Ibsen play Rosmersholm—Rebecca West trained in London as an actress before turning to journalism in 1911. She covered the Nuremberg trials and wrote Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, a 1,232-page book on the Balkans based on a 1937 trip through Yugoslavia. “All this is embittering history for a woman to contemplate,” she wrote in that book. “I will believe that the battle of feminism is over…when I hear that a country has allowed itself to be turned upside down and led to the brink of war by its passion for a totally bald woman writer.”

All Writing

I take it as a prime cause of the present confusion of society that it is too sickly and too doubtful to use pleasure frankly as a test of value.

—Rebecca West, 1939

Hatred of domestic work is a natural and admirable result of civilization.

—Rebecca West, 1912

Motherhood is the strangest thing, it can be like being one’s own Trojan horse.

—Rebecca West, 1959

Issues Contributed