Literary Criticism

  • Harold Orel
Part of the Studies in 20th Century Literature book series (STCL)


It seems odd that Rebecca West’s literary criticism, appearing in reviews, essays and books over a period of some six decades, should have exerted so little influence on the reading-tastes of the public or even of her fellow authors. Not that these fugitive pieces appeared in unknown periodicals or newspapers; readers of the New Republic, New Statesman and Time and Tide, as well as half a dozen newspapers, grew to recognise her name; and some of the brightest literary chatter of the inter-war period ran regularly under her name in the Bookman and in the Books Section of the New York Herald Tribune. Perhaps the loveliest of her dedications is printed at the beginning of The Strange Necessity (1928), a gathering of ten essays drawn from the latter review: ‘TO IRITA VAN DOREN WHOM ONE WOULD LIKE TO BE LIKE’ (Irita Van Doren was an editor at the Herald Tribune). Still another collection of short pieces may be found in Ending in Earnest: A Literary Log (1931, published only in the United States). Rebecca West as literary judge has been a familiar figure to at least three generations of readers.


Literary Criticism Literary Work Needed Information Literary Achievement Modern Writer 
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  1. 33.
    Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg, ed. Rebecca West (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1926) pp. 27–8.Google Scholar
  2. 119.
    Gordon N. Ray, H. G. Wells and Rebecca West (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1974) p. 123.Google Scholar
  3. 186.
    G. E. Hutchinson, The Itinerant Ivory Tower: Scientific and Literary Essays (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1953) pp. 243–55.Google Scholar

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© Harold Orel 1986

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  • Harold Orel

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