Rebecca West (1892-1983) was a prominent English critic, journalist, and novelist. She contributed to feminist and socialist magazines, had a lengthy relationship with H. G. Wells, and was named Dame of the British Empire in 1959. Her literary reputation declined after 1970 and was revived in the mid-1980s, with the posthumous publication of three novels and a memoir, as wells as the reissue of several earlier works. With the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon catapulted her into the limelight and brought her wide critical attention. This book offers a much-needed assessment of her literary career.
Schweizer's volume analyzes West's spiritual and philosophical ideas, asserting that her novels and travel writings betray an epic impulse and therefore reinvent epic heroism in feminist terms. The first part of this study examines her fiction, including, The Judge and the trilogy of novels about the Aubrey family. Philosophical and conceptual elements in her fictional and nonfictional prose are explored, relating her ideas to other thinkers. The volume closes with a look at West's reworking of epic conventions in her travel writings, including her unfinished Survivors in Mexico.
About the Author
BERNARD SCHWEIZER is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Long Island University. Born and raised in Switzerland, he taught at the University of Zurich for three years. He is author of Radicals on the Road: The Politics of English Travel Writing in the 1930s (2001), and editor of Rebecca West's Survivors in Mexico (2003).
Table of Contents
Rebecca West's Epic Novels
Heroism and Religious Revolt in The Judge
Female Quests in the Aubrey Trilogy
Rebecca West's World of Ideas
Rebecca West's Epic Travel Writing
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Modern Female Epic
"Survivors in Mexico": Genesis of an Epic Fragment
Heroism and Religious Revolt in Survivors in Mexico