Rebecca West was a leading figure in the twentieth century literary scene. A passionate suffragist, socialist, fiercely intelligent, Rebecca West began her career as a writer with articles in The Freewoman and The Clarion. Her first book, a biography of Henry James, was published when she was only twenty–four, and her first novel followed just two years later. She had a notorious affair with H.G. Wells, and their illegitimate son, Anthony, was born at the beginning of the First World War.
The author of several novels, she is perhaps best remembered for her classic account of pre–war Yugoslavia, Black Lamb, Grey Falcon (published by Macmillan in 1941 and as relevant today as it was sixty years ago) and for her coverage of the Nuremberg Trials. When she died in 1983 at the age of 90, William Shawn, then editor–in–chief of the New Yorker, said: “Rebecca West was one of the giants and will have a lasting place in English literature. No one in this century wrote more dazzling prose, or had more wit, or looked at the intricacies of human character and the ways of the world more intelligently.” Formidably talented, West was a towering figure in the British literary landscape. Lorna Gibb’s vivid and insightful biography affords a dazzling insight into her life and work.