Rebecca West, pen name of Mrs. Cicily Maxwell Andrews, born Fairfield, aka Dame Rebecca West

Rebecca
West, pen name of Mrs. Cicily Maxwell Andrews, born Fairfield, aka Dame Rebecca West
1892
1983

English Novelist, Critic, Essayist, Journalist and Travel Writer

Author Quotes

You must always believe that life is as extraordinary as music says it is.

Yes, said Mamma, this is the worst of life, that love does not give us common sense but is a sure way of losing it. We love people, and we say that we are going to do more for them than friendship, but it makes such fools of us that we do far less; indeed sometimes what we do could be mistaken for the work of hatred.

Yet it had been delicious to touch her grandfather's robe. It was as different from ordinary material as something sung from something spoken. In a way she liked her grandfather. Once she had seen children crawling under a circus-tent so that they could see the elephant, and she would have done that to see her grandfather; and what she like in him was the upside-downness of him, as this inverted luxury which gave him an everyday possession--for she supposed this robe was just a dressing gown--which was uniquely exquisite...

Works of art feel towards human beings exactly as we do towards ghosts. The transparency of spectres, the diffuseness in space which lets them drift through doors and walls, and their smell of death, disgust us not more than we disgust works of art by our meaninglessness, our diffuseness in time which lets us drift through three score years and ten without a quarter as much significance as a picture establishes instantaneously.

Writing has nothing to do with communication between person and person, only with communication between different parts of a person's mind.

We think in youth that our bodies are identical to ourselves and have the same interests, but discover later in life that they are heartless companions who have been accidentally yoked with us, and who are as likely as not, in our extreme sickness or old age, to treat us with less mercy than we would have received at the hands of the worst bandits.

Were I to go down into the market-place, armed with the powers of witchcraft, and take a peasant by the shoulders and whisper to him, 'In your lifetime, have you known peace?' wait for his answer, shake his shoulders and transform him into his father, and ask him the same question, and transform him in his turn to his father, I would never hear the word 'Yes,' if I carried my questioning of the dead back for a thousand years. I would always hear, 'No, there was fear, there were our enemies without, our rulers within, there was prison, there was torture, there was violent death.

Whatever happens, never forget that people would rather be led to perdition by a man, than to victory by a woman.

We disgust works of art by our meaninglessness, our diffuseness in time which lets us drift through three score years and ten without a quarter as much significance as a picture establishes instantaneously

We love people, and we say that we were going to do more for them than friendship, but it makes such fools of us that we do far less; indeed sometimes what we do could be mistaken for the work of hatred.

Unfortunately, all gatherings convened for the betterment of the human lot show a tendency to gas themselves, and not with laughing-gas either.

There was a definite process by which one made people into friends, and it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.

Time spent in a casino is time given to death, a foretaste of the hour when one's flesh will be diverted to the purposes of the worm and not of the will.

There is one common condition for the lot of women in Western civilization and all other civilizations that we know about for certain, and that is, woman as a sex is disliked and persecuted, while as an individual she is liked, loved, and even, with reasonable luck, sometimes worshipped.

There is, of course, no reason for the existence of the male sex except that sometimes one needs help with moving the piano.

There is no wider gulf in the universe than yawns between those on the hither and thither side of vital.

There is no logical reason why the camel of great art should pass through the needle of mob intelligence.

There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all.

There is in every one of us an unending see-saw between the will to live and the will to die.

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.

The point is that nobody likes having salt rubbed into their wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth.

The redemptive power of divine grace no longer seemed credible, nor very respectable in the arbitrary performance that was claimed for it.

The general tendency to be censorious of the vices to which one has not been tempted.

The main difference between men and woman is that men are lunatics and woman are idiots.

The memory, experiencing and re-experiencing, has such power over one's mere personal life, that one has merely lived.

Author Picture
First Name
Rebecca
Last Name
West, pen name of Mrs. Cicily Maxwell Andrews, born Fairfield, aka Dame Rebecca West
Birth Date
1892
Death Date
1983
Bio

English Novelist, Critic, Essayist, Journalist and Travel Writer