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Rebecca West
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    (December 21, 1892-March 15, 1983)
    Birth name is Cicely Isabel Fairfield
    Wrote ‘Henry James (1916),’ ‘The Return of the Soldier (1918),’ ‘The Judge (1922),’ ‘St. Augustine (1933),’ ‘The Thinking Reed (1936),’ ‘Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941),’ ‘The Meaning of Treason (1949),’ ‘A Train of Powder (1955),’ ‘The New Meaning of Treason (1964),’ ‘The Birds Fall Down (1966),’ and ‘This Real Night (1984)’
    When she was nineteen, she had an affair with H.G. Wells who was married and 26 years her senior.
    She called Wells ‘Jaguar,’ and he called her ‘Panther’ (their out of wedlock son, Anthony, got stuck with ‘Panther’ as a middle name).
    ‘Black Lamb and Grey Falcon,’ her travelogue about Yugoslavia was criticized for its highly romanticized, pro-Serbian bias.
    She wrote that men were lunatics and women were idiots.
    Her hatred of communism (that she had endorsed in her youth) grew so extreme that she supported McCarthyism for a while.
    Although an anti-imperialist, she became a Dame of the British Empire in 1959.
    She engaged in a bitter public feud with her son Anthony.
    She became a suffragette at age fourteen.
    She was well known as a brilliant book reviewer when still an adolescent.
    She first caught the attention of Wells when she called him ‘the old maid among novelists’ in print.
    In 1954, Kenneth Tynan called her ‘the best journalist alive.’
    She wrote perceptively about the failings of imperialism, capitalism, fascism and communism.
    She told Charlie Chaplin (who had become her lover) that his idealistic views about Bolshevism were naïve.
    Her son Anthony became a successful writer himself.
    She appeared as herself in the Warren Beatty film ‘Reds (1982).’

Credit: Georgina

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