Thinking about Rebecca West

I have been reminding myself of the life and work of Rebecca West, one of the greatest journalists and novelists of the mid 20th century, after meeting the writer, academic and editor Joanna Labon, at a friend’s house last night. Labon is an active member of the Rebecca West society, formed in 2003, and is organising a conference about West in late September in London.

Rebecca West was the stuff of legend; passionate, forthright, witty and very beautiful, the lover of H G Wells and mother of their illegitimate son, Anthony.

My favourite quote of hers is probably her most famous:

” I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

How often I’ve wanted to remember that, word for word, when patronised about women and politics by some male idiot!

What I did not know until today, was that what West actually said was…………..’ whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat and a prostitute.’ Actually, the quote is better without it for lots of reasons.

Anyway, I hope to post up more about West herself, her writings and the September conference, so stay posted, if you are interested………

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