Books: Beginning a Posthumous Career This Real Night

by Rebecca West; Viking; 266 pages; $16.95

As an ambitious teenager, she changed her name from Cicily Isabel Fairfield to Rebecca West, after one of Ibsen's strong-minded heroines, and then spent much of her life in the public spotlight. In 1912 she began a tumultuous ten- year affair with H.G. Wells and in 1914 bore him a son; meanwhile, her writing began to attract attention. She produced fiction, biography, history, criticism and a steady supply of journalism. She espoused feminism in its early wave and patriotism during the period after World War II when her native England reeled with self-doubt. Although she died in 1983, at age 90,...

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