Person:Cicely Fairfield (1)

Dame Rebecca West
b.21 Dec 1892 London, England
d.15 Mar 1983 London, England
m. 17 Dec 1883
  1. Dr. Josephine Letitia Denny Fairfield1885 - 1978
  2. Winifred A. "Winnie" Fairfield1887 -
  3. Dame Rebecca West1892 - 1983
  1. Anthony Panther West1914 - 1987
m. 1 Nov 1930
Facts and Events
Name[1][4][5][6][8][9][10][11][19][24] Dame Rebecca West
Alt Name[1][4][7][12][23] Cicely Isabel "Cissie" Fairfield
Married Name[3][19][22] Cicily Andrews
Gender Female
Birth[1][3] 21 Dec 1892 London, England
Christening[20] Feb 1894 London, EnglandChurch of England (Christian)
Education[2][7][13] Bet 1906 and 1907 Edinburgh, Midlothian, ScotlandGeorge Watson's Ladies' College
Occupation[1][4][6][7][8][10][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][21] Bet 1911 and 1983 London, EnglandJournalist & Writer
Other Bet 1913 and 1923 Extramarital affair
with Herbert George "H. G." Wells
Marriage 1 Nov 1930 to Henry Maxwell Andrews
Title (nobility)[14][19] 1959 London, EnglandHonored as a Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire (DBE)
Death[1][3][15] 15 Mar 1983 London, England
Burial[3][13][22] Brookwood, Surrey, EnglandBrookwood Cemetery
Reference Number? Wikidata #Q236669?
  Genealogy well done. Exemplary WeRelate page with excellent use of original sources.


Biographical Summary

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Dame Cicily Isabel Fairfield DBE (21 December 1892 – 15 March 1983), known as Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, was a British author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. An author who wrote in many genres, West reviewed books for The Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Sunday Telegraph, and The New Republic, and she was a correspondent for The Bookman. Her major works include Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), on the history and culture of Yugoslavia; A Train of Powder (1955), her coverage of the Nuremberg trials, published originally in The New Yorker; The Meaning of Treason, later The New Meaning of Treason, a study of the trial of the British Fascist William Joyce and others; The Return of the Soldier, a modernist World War I novel; and the "Aubrey trilogy" of autobiographical novels, The Fountain Overflows, This Real Night, and Cousin Rosamund. Time called her "indisputably the world's number one woman writer" in 1947. She was made CBE in 1949, and DBE in 1959, in each case, the citation reads: "writer and literary critic". She took the pseudonym "Rebecca West" from the rebellious young heroine in Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen. She was a recipient of the Benson Medal.

Novelist, journalist, critic, and feminist, Rebecca West (1892-1983) is considered one of the finest prose writers in twentieth-century England.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) was born Cicily Isabel Fairfield, the youngest of three daughters of Charles Fairfield, a journalist in London, and Isabel Mackenzie, a talented pianist who supported her family by giving music lessons. Inspired by such stars of the stage as Sarah Bernhardt and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Cicily hoped to become an actress, and in 1910 she enrolled in the Academy of Dramatic Art. Soon, however, she abandoned her theatrical ambitions and joined the staff of the feminist journal, The Freewoman, for which she began to write regularly under the name of Rebecca West (adopted after playing that character in a performance of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm).

She has since become legendary, not only as an outspoken feminist and mistress of H.G. Wells, but also as a prolific author. By mid-career in 1947, West was featured on the cover of Time and the story hailed her as "indisputably the world's No. 1 woman writer."[25]


Among Rebecca West’s protean accomplishments are critical studies of two writers she deeply admired, Henry James and D.H. Lawrence; Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), a vast work about pre-World War II Yugoslavia that combines history, political analysis, and vivid descriptions of travel; The Meaning of Treason (1947), analysis of World War II treachery and an exploration of the impulse to betray; and several novels, beginning with The Return of the Soldier (1918), which helped to define an era; and the The Fountain Overflows (1956), which was closely modeled on the events of her own childhood. Others are referenced below, as well as biographies of her life written by other acclaimed authors.



  • The Return of the Soldier (1918)
  • The Judge (1922)
  • Harriet Hume (1929)
  • The Harsh Voice: Four Short Novels (1935)
  • The Thinking Reed (1936)
  • The Fountain Overflows (1956)
  • This Real Night (1984)
  • Cousin Rosamund (1985)
  • The Birds Fall Down (1966)
  • Sunflower (1986)
  • The Sentinel (2002)


  • The Essential Rebecca West (2010)
  • Henry James (1916)
  • The Strange Necessity: Essays and Reviews (1928)
  • Ending in Earnest: A literary Log (1931)
  • St Augustine (1933)
  • The Modern Rake’s Progress (co-authored with David Low, 1934)
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941)
  • The Meaning of Treason (1949)
  • The New Meaning of Treason (1964)
  • A Train of Powder (1955)
  • The Court and the Castle (1958)
  • The Young Rebecca (1982)
  • Family Memories: An Autobiographical Journey (1987)
  • The Selected Letters of Rebecca West (2000), edited by Bonnie Kime Scott
  • Survivors in Mexico (2003)
  • Woman as Artist and Thinker (2005)

Select Books Written By West

Select Books Written About West

Video References

Meet Rebecca West

Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.
"Philby and Treason"

One to One: Susan Hertog, author, "Dangerous
Ambition: Rebecca West & Dorothy Thompson

Rebecca West "The Fountain Overflows"

Women's Equality Day: Rebecca West,
Ruth Gruber and Dalma Heyn

BookTV: Susan Hertog, "Dangerous Ambition,
Rebecca West & Dorothy Thompson

Play Teaser: "That Woman: Rebecca West

LibriVox recording: "Return of the Soldier,"
by Rebecca West

Book Review: "The Fountain Overflows"
by Rebecca West

Open Road Media Review of Rebecca West's Literary Accomplishments

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Rebecca West. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
Image Gallery
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rebecca West, in The Modernism Lab at Yale University.

    West was born Cicely Isabel Fairfield on December 21, 1892 in London, to Charles and Isabella Fairfield. She wrote journalistic articles, novels, and memoirs at an unabated rate up until her death in 1983.

    In the Spring of 1912, Cicely started using a pseudonym, chiefly to assuage her mother's concerns over her forthright writing. Cicely derived "Rebecca West" from Henrik Ibsen's play Rosmersholm. In the play, Rebecca West is the mistress of a married man and persuades him to join her in a melodramatic double suicide by drowning. Later in her life, West regretted the Ibsen allusion, claiming that she hurriedly chose the name when the magazine was off to the press and that, in fact, she liked neither the play nor the character. Ibsen originally influenced West, because he taught her the significance of ideas, but she quickly realized that "Ibsen cried out for ideas for the same reason that men called out for water, because he had not got any". Though she was transformed into Rebecca West in both her personal and professional life, to her mother and sisters she would always remain Cissie.

  2. West, Rebecca, in The Collected Interwar Papers and Correspondence of Roy Harrod edited by Daniele Besomi.

    Rebecca West (1892-1983, born Cicily Isabel Fairfield), educated at George Watson's Ladies' College and at the Academy of Dramatic Art in London, was an author, reporter and literary critic. She married Henry Maxwell Andrews in 1930.

  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Rebecca West, in Find A Grave: Brookwood Cemetery, Brookwood, Woking Borough, Surrey, England
    Memorial# 8231892, Jan 01, 2004.

    Birth: Dec. 21, 1892
    Death: Mar. 15, 1983
    Burial: Brookwood Cemetery, Brookwood, Woking Borough, Surrey, England
    Plot: Plot 81

    Headstone Marker: "Rebecca West D.B.E., Cicily Andrews nee Fairfield, 1892-1983"

  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Rebecca West, in This Recording: The Woman by Alex Carnevale
    November 27, 2012.

    The girl born Cissie Fairfield chose the name Rebecca West.

  5. Rebecca West, in Rollyson, Carl. Rebecca West: A Modern Sibyl. (Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse, 2009)
    Nov 13, 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rebecca West, in Rebecca West - A Brief Biography

    "Rebecca West was made CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1949, and DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) in 1959, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to British letters. Thus, she was later called Dame Rebecca West."

  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Rebecca West, in About Womens History, article by Lauren Jankowski.

    West wrote both fiction and nonfiction and was particularly known for her sharp wit, which was most apparent in her literary criticism. A strong advocate for a number of causes (including feminism, socialism, antifascism, and support for the poor), West was never afraid to speak her mind. Rebecca West was also the first woman reporter in the House of Commons.

  8. 8.0 8.1 Rebecca West, in West, Rebecca, and Faith Evans. Family memories. (London: Lime Tree, c1987)
    21 Dec 2010.

    This family history and memoir offers keen insight into the origins of Rebecca West and her work.

  9. Rebecca West, in The Paris Review: Interview with Rebecca West, The Art of Fiction No. 65 by Marina Warner

    Discussion of Rebecca West's writings, family, and personal memories.

  10. 10.0 10.1 Rebecca West, in Hertog, Susan. Dangerous Ambition: Dorothy Thompson and Rebecca West - New Women in Search of Love and Power. (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1 Nov 2011)
    1 Nov 2011.

    Biographer Susan Hertog chronicles the separate but intertwined journeys of writers Dorothy Thompson and Rebecca West.

  11. Rebecca West, in Gibb, Lorna. West's World: The extraordinary life of Dame Rebecca West. (London: Macmillan, 2013)

    Story of the life of Rebecca West, English author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer, written by Lorna Gibb.

  12. 12.0 12.1 Fairfield, Cecily, in Google Books - The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women: From the Earliest Times to 2004 edited by Elizabeth Ewan, Sue Innes, Sian Reynolds, Rose Pipes
    Pages 115-116, 2004.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Cicely Fairfield (Rebecca West), in Spartacus Educational: Rebecca West by John Simkin
    Sep 1997.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Rebecca West, in West, Rebecca, and Samuel Hynes. Rebecca West: A Celebration. (New York, NY: The Viking Press, 1977)
    Cover, 1977.

    "In 1959 she was honored as a Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire (DBE)."

  15. 15.0 15.1 Dame Rebecca West Dies in London, in The New York Times Books
    Article by Linda Charlton, 16 March 1983.

    "Dame Rebecca West, the versatile British woman of letters whose seven decades of literary output ranged from reportage to political commentary, essays, history and novels, died yesterday at her London home. She was 90 years old. All told, Dame Rebecca wrote a score of books, including four collections of essays and seven novels. Dame Rebecca is survived by her son and four grandchildren."

  16. Rebecca West, in The New York Times Books

    News and Reviews From the Archives of The New York Times: List of Rebecca West's books.

  17. The “Passion of Exile”: Rebecca West’s "The Return of the Soldier", in Shell Shock and the Modernist Imagination: the death drive in post-World War I British fiction by Bonikowski, Wyatt
    Chapter 4, pages 95-131, 2013; retrieved 11 Aug 2016.

    MLA citation: Bonikowski, Wyatt. Shell Shock and the Modernist Imagination. : Taylor and Francis, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central. Web. 11 August 2016.
    Repository link:

  18. Rebecca West’s "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon": The Quality of Visibility in Yugoslavia, in Modernist Travel Writing by Farley, David G. (University of Missouri Press)
    Chapter 4, pages 144-192, 2010, retrieved 11 Aug 2016.

    MLA citation: Farley, David G.. Modernist Travel Writing. : University of Missouri Press, 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central. Web. 11 August 2016.
    Repository link:

  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Dame Rebecca West, in Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved 16 Aug 2016.

    Alternative titles: Cicily Isabel Andrews; Cicily Isabel Fairfield
    Dame Rebecca West
    British writer
    Also known asCicily Isabel Fairfield, Cicily Isabel Andrews
    born December 21, 1892 London, England
    died March 15, 1983 London, England
    Dame Rebecca West, pseudonym of Cicily Isabel Andrews, née Fairfield (born Dec. 21, 1892, London, Eng.—died March 15, 1983, London) British journalist, novelist, and critic, who was perhaps best known for her reports on the Nürnberg trials of war criminals (1945–46). West was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1959.

  20. Rebecca West, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, retrieved 18 Aug 2016.

    West's parents had her baptised into the Church of England two months after birth and she considered herself a Christian, though an unconventional believer. At times, she found God to be wicked; at other times she considered Him merely ineffectual and defeated. However, she revered Christ as the quintessentially good man, she had great respect for the literary, pictorial, and architectural manifestations of the Christian ethos, and she considered faith a valid tool to grapple with the conundrums of life and the mysteries of the cosmos. Although her writings are full of references to the Bible and ecclesiastical history, she was essentially anti-doctrinaire and occasionally blasphemous. In 1926 she expressed the unorthodox belief that "Christianity must be regarded not as a final revelation but as a phase of revelation." Moreover, she rejected specific articles of belief such as the virgin birth, Original sin, the Atonement, and Providence. Her contribution to Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Letters Series, Letter to a Grandfather (1933), is a declaration of "my faith, which seems to some unfaith" disguised as philosophical fiction.

  21. Rebecca West, in Peters Fraser & Dunlop

    Dame Rebecca West, DBE (1892 – 1983) was an author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific author in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. She met H.G. Wells in 1913, after her provocatively damning review of his novel Marriage prompted him to invite her to lunch. They fell in love, though Wells was married at the time, and their affair lasted ten years producing a son. In 1947 Time magazine called West, ‘indisputably the world’s number one woman writer’ and in 1954 Kenneth Tynan described her as, ‘the best journalist alive’. She was made CBE in 1949, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to British letters.

  22. 22.0 22.1 Headstone Marker: "Rebecca West D.B.E., Cicily Andrews nee Fairfield, 1892-1983"
  23. Birthname
  24. TIME Covers: Rebecca West, Dec 8, 1947