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West, Rebecca.

West, Rebeccain full Dame Rebecca West, pseudonym of Cicily Isabel Andrews also known as Fairfield (b. Dec. 21, 1892, London, Eng.--d. March 15, 1983, London)

British journalist, novelist, and critic, perhaps best known for her reports on the Nurnberg trials of war criminals (1945-46).

West was the daughter of an army officer and was educated in Edinburgh after her father's death in 1902. She later trained in London as an actress (taking her pseudonym from a role that she had played in Henrik Ibsen's Rosmersholm).

From 1911 she became involved in journalism, contributing frequently to the left-wing press and making a name for herself as a fighter for woman suffrage. In 1916 she published a critical biography of Henry James that revealed something of her lively intellectual curiosity, and she then embarked on her career as a novelist. Among her novels are The Judge (1922), Harriet Hume (1929), The Thinking Reed (1936), The Fountain Overflows (1956), and The Birds Fall Down (1966). They have attracted much less attention than have her social and cultural writings. In 1937 she visited Yugoslavia and later wrote Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, 2 vol. (1942), an examination of Balkan politics, culture, and history. In 1946 she reported on the trial for treason of Nazi propagandist William Joyce ("Lord Haw-Haw") for The New Yorker magazine. Published as The Meaning of Treason (1949; rev. ed., 1965), it examined not only the traitor's role in modern society but also that of the intellectual and of the scientist. Later she published a similar collection, The New Meaning of Treason (1964). Her brilliant reports on the Nurnberg trials were collected in A Train of Powder (1955). She was created Dame of the British Empire in 1959.

Rebecca West: A Celebration, a selection of her works, was published in 1977, and her personal reflections on the turn of the century, 1900, was published in 1982. The critic and author Anthony West is the son of Dame Rebecca and the English novelist H.G. Wells.

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 1995
Words:381
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