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Auction: Auction 05.12.1991
was auctioned on: 5 December 1991
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WEST, REBECCA. Twenty-four autograph letters signed, nineteen autograph letters signed, one typed letter, one autograph note signed, four autograph postcards signed, and one autograph postcard to her friends Maboth Moseley and/or Vera Watson, written...

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Estimate: US$3,000 - US$4,000
Price realised:  US$3,520
Lot number 348, Views: 102

WEST, REBECCA. Twenty-four autograph letters signed, nineteen autograph letters signed, one typed letter, one autograph note signed, four autograph postcards signed, and one autograph postcard to her friends Maboth Moseley and/or Vera Watson, written from Ibstone (Near High Wycombe) and London, 1 October 1931 - 1982. Together 50 letters, notes, and cards, 92 pages, oblong 12mo-4to (mostly 8vo), about half with envelopes, signed variously (one "cicily Andrews," the rest "Rebecca West," "Rebecca," or "R.W."). With: Four Christmas cards inscribed by Rebecca West; two letters from her husband Henry Andrews; three letters from her secretary; thirteen photographs (mostly snapshots) including some of Rebecca West and her home Ibstone House; a few ephermeral items; an album ( small 4to, wrappers ) containing news clippings relating to Rebecca West; and a large folder of correspondence to Maboth Mosely and/or Vera Watson mainly from Helen Jordan Ashton (but including some letters from publishers). "THE GREAT DIFFICULTY IN MY LIFE HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY SON" Many of the letters relate to Rebecca West's health and family problems (particularly with her sister Lettie), but in two she discusses openly and at length her difficult relationship with her son Anthony West and her project of publishing (with the late Gordon Ray) her letters from H.G. Wells (Anthony's father) to correct the balance (regarding her relationship with Wells). In her letters she gives literary advice to the recipients (who were working on articles and books), opines on Thackeray and Tolstoy, and comments on social problems of the day. 5 February 1956: "...the great difficulty in my life has always been my son, to whom I have always been specially devoted, because I nearly lost him in his early teens [from ill health]...For the last ten years he has been behaving in a most extraordinary manner. There has just been one inexplicable mystery after another, and constant display of rage against me...there was published in America an appalling novel [ Heritage ] by Anthony, [using?] my name and H.G.'s on the cover, which I could have borned if the story told in the novel had been true, but it is a tissue of damaging lies, told with the utmost malice...It does not end with the utter heart break and the shock. I have countless letters about this horror, many from strangers in America. There has also been a number of serious legal difficulties to be settled, as other people beside myself have been libelled. My life has been a complete hell since October. And, indeed, for a long time before that..." [no date]. Discussing legal (copyright) problems regarding H.G. Wells letters to her that she wants to publish with Gordon Ray as editor: "...I gave them to the Beinecke Library of Yale University...I always had a feeling that if these letters were published they would dispute Anthony's appalling stories...Gordon Ray...was the obvious person to read the letters, and is a man who wouldn't sacrifice his integrity. There was also of course no [reason?] he should not see Anthony -- he had nothing to say that was relevant to the letters as he was only eight years old when H.G. and I parted. The dreadful dishonesty and the course brutality of the article by Anthony was ghastly. His burst of enthusiasm over June, H.G.'s wife was so awful -- he was eleven when she died and never saw her..." 2 June 1982: "...It is extraordinary what a refuge reading really good books is. I storngly agree with you that Vanity Fair is possibly the best novel written in English. It is so much better than anything written by the old humbug, Tolstoy. I always wanted to get up a motorbus tour to go to Russia with a teams of worthy people who would join me in desecrating his grave..." (50)

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Auction 05.12.1991
Date of the auction: 5 Dec 1991
Address: Christie's
New York, Park Avenue