Rebecca West – a prolific talent with an extraordinary life



Rebecca West in her day was described as one of the greats, “a novelist of note… a distinguished literary critic… above all… one of the greatest of living journalists.” Her Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941) on the history and culture of Yugoslavia was called “this century’s greatest travel book”. She wrote on the Nuremburg Trials and the trial of British fascist Lord Haw Haw who was executed and several novels as well as countless newspaper and magazine pieces, in particular for The New Yorker.

Born 21 December 1892 8.15am London, she grew up in an intellectual home but left school early when money ran out; became an outspoken suffragette, feminist and socialist and later become concerned about social injustice in South Africa and other countries she travelled to constantly. When she was 20 she had an affair with 47 year old HG Wells, which produced a son, and reportedly had affairs with Charlie Chaplin and Lord Beaverbrook. She did marry, not very happily in her late 30s, earned a great deal and kept an active social life with the thinkers and influential figures of the day until she died aged 91 in 1983.

Her Sun was within one minute of a degree (one sixtieth) away from Capricorn (assuming her birth time is accurate) square Mars in Pisces, so assertive; with a hard-working Capricorn Moon; and the signature Neptune Pluto in Gemini of her generation opposition Mercury in Sagittarius, so both idealistic and dogmatic, a dreamer and a deep-thinker. Her Jupiter in pro-active Aries opposed Saturn in fair-minded Libra, so she would veer between highs and lows. Both her Mars and Jupiter fell in her 3rd house, which is a journalistic placing. Her Mars was in a passionately enthusiastic trine to Venus in seductive Scorpio.

HG Wells’ Jupiter was conjunct her Moon for a resonant connection, but his volatile Mars Uranus fell in her 7th square her Saturn and Jupiter so it would be fraught and not destined to last a lifetime. He also had Venus in Scorpio, which for a time would make for an intense attraction.

Her son with whom she had a very public falling out after he wrote a novel about the relationship between an illegitimate son and his two world-famous, unmarried parents, in which he portrayed the mother in unflattering terms as a poor caregiver. He never forgave her for being absent while she built her career in the US.

Like her he had a Capricorn Moon and his Saturn in Gemini conjunct Pluto in Cancer sat squarely on her Descendant, so not a good mix. He did have his Leo Moon on his IC and evidently idealised his father, although HG Wells was also an absent parent.


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