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Kessler-Harris, Alice
A difficult woman : the challenging life and times of Lillian Hellman / Alice Kessler-Harris
1st U.S. ed
New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2012
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PS3515.E343 Z74 2012    AVAILABLE
Subject Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984
Subject(s) Dramatists, American -- 20th century -- Biography
Subject Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984 -- Political and social views
Physical Description 439 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [421]-429) and index
Contents Old-fashioned American traditions -- A tough broad -- A serious playwright -- Politics without fear -- An American Jew -- The writer as moralist -- A self-made woman -- A known Communist -- The most dangerous hours -- Liar, liar -- Life after death
Summary A revelatory and provocative biography of one of the most controversial women of the twentieth century, by one of America's most renowned historians. Lillian Hellman was a giant of twentieth-century letters and a groundbreaking figure as one of the most successful female playwrights on Broadway. Yet the author of The Little Foxes and Toys in the Attic is today remembered more as a toxic, bitter survivor and literary fabulist, the woman of whom Mary McCarthy said, "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" In A Difficult Woman, renowned historian Alice Kessler-Harris undertakes a feat few would dare to attempt: a reclamation of a combative, controversial woman who straddled so many political and cultural fault lines of her time. Kessler-Harris renders Hellman's feisty wit and personality in all of its contradictions: as a non-Jewish Jew, a displaced Southerner, a passionate political voice without a party, an artist immersed in commerce, a sexually free woman who scorned much of the women's movement, a loyal friend whose trust was often betrayed, and a writer of memoirs who repeatedly questioned the possibility of achieving truth and doubted her memory. Hellman was a writer whose plays spoke the language of morality yet whose achievements foundered on accusations of mendacity. Above all else, she was a woman who made her way in a man's world. Kessler-Harris has crafted a nuanced life of Hellman, empathetic yet unsparing, that situates her in the varied contexts in which she moved, from New Orleans to Broadway to the hearing room of HUAC. A Difficut Woman is a major work of literary and intellectual history. - Publisher
NOTE 509761

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