“Since men don’t love us nearly as much as we love them
that leaves them much more spare vitality to be wonderful with…”
Rebecca West’s The Judge is a haunting novel about mothers and their sons and daughters.
It asks the question: just what is the claim of a mother’s love—in rivalry to young love?
Ellen, a beautiful Scots suffragette, lives in poverty with her mother, and works as a secretary to an Edinburgh businessman.
Her life abruptly changes when she meets Richard Yaverland, a handsome and wealthy man, with an air of exoticism (he has spent years abroad, including a spell in Brazil).
Richard and Ellen fall in love and plan to marry.
Soon after, Ellen's mother dies suddenly, and Ellen is taken from Scotland to the Essex marshes, to live with Richard's mother at her family home.
The novels’ enduring appeal lies not only in its treatment of still-relevant issues involving gender, economics, and class, but also in its superb portrait of an England long gone.
Like all exquisitely executed fiction, it portrays with sympathy and perceptiveness humanity's endlessly complex choices and compromises.
REBECCA WEST (1892-1983) was an English author, journalist, and critic. A prolific author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. Born Cicely Isabel Fairfield, she has since become legendary, not only as an outspoken feminist and mistress of H.G. Wells, but also as the prolific author of novels like The Return of the Soldier, which helped to define an era. Other works include "The Fountain Overflows," "This Real Night," and "Cousin Rosamund."
By 1947, West was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, and the story hailed her as "indisputably the world's No. 1 woman writer."
She was created a CBE in 1949 and advanced to a DBE (Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire) in 1959. In 1957 she was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, in 1968 a Companion of Literature, and in 1972 an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She died on March 15, 1983 at the age of ninety.
"Rebecca West could handle a pen as brilliantly as ever I could and much more savagely."
-George Bernard Shaw