Rebecca West - The Strange Necessity - Little, Brown Book Group

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The Strange Necessity

Essays and Reviews

By Rebecca West

  • Paperback
  • £7.99

In this collection of literary criticism, Rebecca West undertakes the question of art's value, examining the works of her contemporaries and their places in history

'The Strange Necessity',one of the twelve essays collected here and first published in 1928, anchors West's quest to understand why art matters and how aesthetics of every caliber can not only inspire but reveal the author's inner world. Whether juxtaposing Ulysses's prose with Pavlov's research, or comparing Sinclair Lewis with actress and pianist Yvonne Printemps, West finds that a satisfying emotion overrides an artistic work's form. Her intricately crafted essays reveal her experience in the literary circles of the twenties and thirties and the important role this question played in her own writing. West's keenly observed criticism offers invaluable insight not only into her work but into her impressions of early twentieth century literature.

Biographical Notes

Rebecca West (1892-1983) was born Cicily Isabel Fairfield, taking her pen name from an Ibsen play. A feminist and social reformer, she was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1959. Her only son, Anthony West (1914-1987), was the son of author H.G. Wells.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780860685043
  • Publication date: 09 Nov 1987
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Virago
Virago

Jonah's Gourd Vine

Zora Neale Hurston
Authors:
Zora Neale Hurston

With a new introduction by JESMYN WARD Born on the wrong side of the creek, John Buddy Pearson, the son of a slave, has come a long way since his shoeless days. With some schooling, a job and marriage to clever Lucy Potts, his fortunes are looking up. But, unable to resist the lure of women or a fight, he's forced to flee town or face life on the chain gang.John finds himself in Sanford, Florida, and sends for Lucy and the children. There, he discovers a talent for preaching, and, with the support of his wife, becomes pastor of Zion Hope Church, rousing his congregation with his fervent sermons. He is now a pillar of the community, respected and popular. Before long, though, he is praying for his own sins - for his powers of persuasion aren't limited to the pulpit - and the town won't stand for his philandering ways.Originally published in 1934, this is Zora Neale Hurston's first novel.

Abacus

The Amazing Test Match Crime

Adrian Alington
Authors:
Adrian Alington
Sphere

The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells
Authors:
H. G. Wells
Abacus

Rope

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

The brilliantly tense play that became Hitchcock's masterpiece, starring James Stewart.Believing themselves to be intellectually superior to their contemporaries, flatmates Brandon and Philip murder their friend David Kentley purely to see if they can get away with it. They then throw a cocktail party, serving food from the top of the trunk where they have hidden David's body. Their guests include both David's father and fiancée, as well as college lecturer Rupert Cadell, who becomes increasingly suspicious as the evening wears on.

Virago

Corregidora

Gayl Jones
Authors:
Gayl Jones

'Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women' JAMES BALDWINUpon publication in 1975, Corregidora was hailed as a masterpiece, winning acclaim from writers including James Baldwin, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. Exploring themes such as race, sexuality and the long repercussions of slavery, this powerful novel paved the way for Beloved and The Colour Purple. Now, this lost classic is published for a new generation of readers.After a tragic loss, Ursa, a Kentucky blues singer, confronts her maternal history and the legacy of Corregidora, the Brazilian slave owner who fathered both Ursa's mother and grandmother. Consumed and haunted by her hatred of the man who irrevocably shaped the lives of her family, Ursa must come to terms with a past that is never too distant from the present.Also new to the VMC list: Eva's Man and The Healing, two further searing novels by Gayl Jones.'No novel about any black woman could ever be the same after this' TONI MORRISON

Sphere

Vanity Fair

William Makepeace Thackeray
Authors:
William Makepeace Thackeray

The classic novel of 'villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing', soon to be a major new ITV series from the producers of Poldark, Victoria and And Then There Were None.William Makepeace Thackeray's witty literary classic Vanity Fair is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, and follows anti-heroine and ruthless social climber Becky Sharp as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story takes her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking heart and fortunes as she goes.ITV's new adaptation of will be one of the biggest drama series of 2018: its script comes from BAFTA-nominated writer Gwyneth Hughes, the series is co-produced by leading production companies Mammoth Screen and Amazon Studios, and Olivia Cooke - star of Steven Spielberg's hit blockbuster Ready Player One - plays Thackeray's timeless heroine Becky Sharp.Read the book before you see the series, then devour it all over again.

Virago

The Seventh Cross

Anna Seghers
Authors:
Anna Seghers

A rediscovered German classic novel from 1942, The Seventh Cross is both a gripping escape story and a powerful novel of resistance. 'At once a suspenseful manhunt story and a knowing portrait of the perils of ordinary life in Hitler's Germany, The Seventh Cross is not only an important novel, but an important historical document. This new, unabridged translation is a genuine publishing event' JOSEPH KANON, author of The Good German and Leaving Berlin'It was [Seghers] who taught my generation and anyone who had an ear to listen after that not-to-be-forgotten war to distinguish right from wrong. The Seventh Cross shaped me; it sharpened my vision' Gunter Grass'A masterpiece. Written in the midst of terror, but with such clarity, such acuity; Seghers is a writer of rare insight' Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in WinterSeven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers' fingers and it becomes a matter of pride to track him down, at whatever cost.Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. Hunted, injured and desperate, time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding his escape will pay with their life.The Seventh Cross powerfully documents the insidious rise of a fascist regime - the seething paranoia, the sudden arrests, the silence and fear.'A fascinating insight into life in pre-war Nazi Germany just as the horrors of the Nazi regime were beginning to unfold. This is an important novel, as much for its picture of German society as for its insight into the psyche of ordinary people confronting their personal fears and mixed loyalties' Simon Mawer, author of The Glass RoomThe Seventh Cross was written by one of the most important German writers of the twentieth century. Her aim was to write, 'A tale that makes it possible to get to know the many layers of fascist Germany through the fortunes of a single man.' She had four copies of the manuscript: one was destroyed in an air raid; a friend lost the second copy while fleeing the Nazis; another was found by the Gestapo; only the fourth copy survived, which, fortunately, she sent to her publisher in America just before she escaped Nazi-occupied France. Published in 1942, The Seventh Cross was an immediate bestseller and was the basis for an MGM film starring Spencer Tracy in 1944. It has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Virago

Marriage

Susan Ferrier
Authors:
Susan Ferrier

Susan Ferrier sold more copies of her novels than her contemporary, Jane Austen. Sir Walter Scott declared her his equal. Why, then has she been lost to history? On the 200th anniversary of this sharply observed, comic novel, it is time to rediscover her brilliance.'What have you to do with a heart? What has anybody to do with a heart when their establishment in life is at stake? Keep your heart for your romances, child, and don't bring such nonsense into real life - heart, indeed!'Understanding that the purpose of marriage is to further her family, Lady Juliana nevertheless rejects the ageing and unattractive - though appropriately wealthy - suitor of her father's choice. She elopes, instead, with a handsome, penniless soldier and goes to Scotland to live at Glenfarn Castle, his paternal home. But Lady Juliana finds life in the Scottish highlands dreary and bleak, hastily repenting of following her heart.After giving birth to twin daughters, Lady Juliana leaves Mary to the care of her sister-in-law, while she returns to England with Adelaide. Sixteen years later, Mary is thoughtful, wise and kind, in comparison to her foolish mother and vain sister. Following two generations of women, Marriage, first published in 1818, is a shrewdly observant and humorous novel by one of Scotland's greatest writers.

Virago

A Little Princess

Frances Hodgson Burnett
Authors:
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Abacus

Craven House

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

'All his novels are terrific' Sarah WatersIn Craven House, among the shifting, uncertain world of the English boarding house, with its sad population of the shabby genteel on the way down - and the eternal optimists who would never get up or on - the young Patrick Hamilton, with loving, horrified fascination, first mapped out the territory that he would make, uniquely, his own. Although many of Hamilton's lifelong interests are here, they are handled with a youthful brio and optimism conspicuously absent from his later work. The inmates of Craven House have their foibles, but most are indulgently treated by an author whose world view has yet to harden from scepticism into cynicism. The generational conflicts of Hamilton's own youth thread throughout the narrative, with hair bobbing and dancing as the battle lines. That perennial of the 1920s bourgeoisie, the 'servant problem', is never far from the surface, and tensions crescendo gradually to a resolution one climactic dinnertime.

Abacus

Hangover Square

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton
Virago

Valley Of The Dolls

Jacqueline Susann
Authors:
Jacqueline Susann
Virago

High Rising

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

Successful lady novelist Laura Morland and her boisterous young son Tony set off to spend Christmas at her country home in the sleepy surrounds of High Rising. But Laura's wealthy friend and neighbour George Knox has taken on a scheming secretary whose designs on marriage to her employer threaten the delicate social fabric of the village. Can clever, practical Laura rescue George from Miss Grey's clutches and, what's more, help his daughter Miss Sibyl Knox to secure her longed-for engagement?Utterly charming and very funny, High Rising is irresistible comic entertainment.

Virago

Wild Strawberries

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

Pretty, impecunious Mary Preston, newly arrived as a guest of her Aunt Agnes at the magnificent wooded estate of Rushwater, falls head over heels for handsome playboy David Leslie. Meanwhile, Agnes and her mother, the eccentric matriarch Lady Emily, have hopes of a different, more suitable match for Mary. At the lavish Rushwater dance party, her future happiness hangs in the balance . . .

Sphere

Who Needs Mr Darcy?

Jean Burnett
Authors:
Jean Burnett
Virago

The Fountain Overflows

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West
Virago

The Return Of The Soldier

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West

The soldier returns from the front to the three women who love him. His wife, Kitty, with her cold, moonlight beauty, and his devoted cousin Jenny wait in their exquisite home on the crest of the Harrow-weald. Margaret Allington, his first and long-forgotten love, is nearby in the dreary suburb of Wealdstone. But the soldier is shell-shocked and can only remember the Margaret he loved fifteen years before, when he was a young man and she an inn-keeper's daughter. His cousin he remembers only as a childhood playmate; his wife he remembers not at all. The women have a choice - to leave him where he wishes to be, or to 'cure' him. It is Margaret who reveals a love so great that she can make the final sacrifice.

Virago

The Wedding Group

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

First published in 1968, this quietly ironic exploration of the ways in which the parental mould is not easily broken, is one of Elizabeth Taylor's most ambitious novels.You know,' Midge began, and paused. She was rather taken aback, and could not at once think of anything to say. 'Perhaps there's nothing so dangerous as having led a sheltered life.'Cressy has grown up in a world of women, presided over by her eccentric, artistic grandfather Harry Bretton. Rebelling against the wholesome, organic values of her home life, Cressy decides to leave home in search of more ephemeral pleasures. Taking a job in an antiques shop, she meets David, a self-satisfied journalist, also looking for means of fleeing the family nest. But as Cressy cannot fend for herself and David is securely tied to his mother's apron strings, this act of escape for both of them proves a powerful form of bondage.

Hachette Audio

Of Mice And Men

John Steinbeck
Authors:
John Steinbeck

Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they'll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss's daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him ...

Virago

Jamaica Inn

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier