Lillian Hellman, Mary McCarthy, and the Failure of Public Conversation in America
Author: Alan Ackerman
Publisher: Yale University Press
This title uses the dramatic life stories of different women to reflect on America's long-running inability to forge a shared public discourse. Ackerman situates the Hellman-McCarthy case in the history of failed American dialogues from the late 1920s to the present.
Women writers have been traditionally excluded from literary canons, not until recently have scholars begun to rediscover or discover neglected women writers and their works. This reference includes alphabetically arranged entries on 58 American women authors who wrote between 1900 and 1945, a period that embraces two major artistic movements, Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and includes a biography, a discussion of major works and themes, a review of the author's critical reception, and extensive primary and secondary bibliographies. The volume reflects the diversity of American culture through its coverage of African American, Native American, Mexican American, and Chinese American women writers.
A Study Guide for Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Drama For Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Drama For Students for all of your research needs.
From the writing of her first play, The Children's Hour (1934), to the time of her death fifty years later, Lillian Hellman's career was engulfed in controversy. During that time she wrote eight original plays, four adaptations for the Broadway stage, three memoirs, and a novella. She also wrote and adapted screenplays and contributed to numerous other literary activities. This volume is a comprehensive reference guide to her dramatic works. The book includes a brief critical biography and a chronology; plot summaries, production histories, and critical overviews for her plays; and extensive bibliographical material. For the student unacquainted with Hellman's works, the plot synopses and critical commentaries provide helpful information. For the researcher, the critical discussions and annotated bibliographic entries summarize the response to Hellman from the beginning of her career to the present. And for the theatre practitioner, the summaries of reviews and the production histories show how critics have responded to various performances and may suggest new approaches to staging her works.
The Decades of Modern American Drama series provides a comprehensive survey and study of the theatre produced in each decade from the 1930s to 2009 in eight volumes. Each volume equips readers with a detailed understanding of the context from which work emerged: an introduction considers life in the decade with a focus on domestic life and conditions, social changes, culture, media, technology, industry and political events; while a chapter on the theatre of the decade offers a wide-ranging and thorough survey of theatres, companies, dramatists, new movements and developments in response to the economic and political conditions of the day. The work of the four most prominent playwrights from the decade receives in-depth analysis and re-evaluation by a team of experts, together with commentary on their subsequent work and legacy. A final section brings together original documents such as interviews with the playwrights and with directors, drafts of play scenes, and other previously unpublished material. The major playwrights and their works to receive in-depth coverage in this volume include: * Clifford Odets: Waiting for Lefty (1935), Awake and Sing! (1935) and Golden Boy (1937); * Lillian Hellman: The Children's Hour (1934), The Little Foxes (1939), and Days to Come (1936); * Langston Hughes: Mulatto (1935), Mule Bone (1930, with Zora Neale Hurston) and Little Ham (1936); * Gertrude Stein: Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights (1938), Four Saints in Three Acts (written in 1927, published in 1932) and Listen to Me (1936).
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. This will be one of the most reviewed, and most acclaimed, books of 2012.
If you were an independent, adventurous, liberated American woman in the 1920s or 1930s where might you have sought escape from the constraints and compromises of bourgeois living? Paris and the Left Bank quickly come to mind. But would you have ever thought of Russia and the wilds of Siberia? This choice was not as unusual as it seems now. As Julia L. Mickenberg uncovers in American Girls in Red Russia, there is a forgotten counterpoint to the story of the Lost Generation: beginning in the late nineteenth century, Russian revolutionary ideology attracted many women, including suffragists, reformers, educators, journalists, and artists, as well as curious travelers. Some were famous, like Isadora Duncan or Lillian Hellman; some were committed radicals, though more were just intrigued by the “Soviet experiment.” But all came to Russia in search of social arrangements that would be more equitable, just, and satisfying. And most in the end were disillusioned, some by the mundane realities, others by horrifying truths. Mickenberg reveals the complex motives that drew American women to Russia as they sought models for a revolutionary new era in which women would be not merely independent of men, but also equal builders of a new society. Soviet women, after all, earned the right to vote in 1917, and they also had abortion rights, property rights, the right to divorce, maternity benefits, and state-supported childcare. Even women from Soviet national minorities—many recently unveiled—became public figures, as African American and Jewish women noted. Yet as Mickenberg’s collective biography shows, Russia turned out to be as much a grim commune as a utopia of freedom, replete with economic, social, and sexual inequities. American Girls in Red Russia recounts the experiences of women who saved starving children from the Russian famine, worked on rural communes in Siberia, wrote for Moscow or New York newspapers, or performed on Soviet stages. Mickenberg finally tells these forgotten stories, full of hope and grave disappointments.
Southern Women Playwrights Confront Race, Region, and Gender
Author: Casey Kayser
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
Category: Literary Criticism
In contrast to other literary genres, drama has received little attention in southern studies, and women playwrights in general receive less recognition than their male counterparts. In Marginalized: Southern Women Playwrights Confront Race, Region, and Gender, author Casey Kayser addresses these gaps by examining the work of southern women playwrights, making the argument that representations of the American South on stage are complicated by difficulties of identity, genre, and region. Through analysis of the dramatic texts, the rhetoric of reviews of productions, as well as what the playwrights themselves have said about their plays and productions, Kayser delineates these challenges and argues that playwrights draw on various conscious strategies in response. These strategies, evident in the work of such playwrights as Pearl Cleage, Sandra Deer, Lillian Hellman, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, and Shay Youngblood, provide them with the opportunity to lead audiences to reconsider monolithic understandings of northern and southern regions and, ultimately, create new visions of the South.
A prolific playwright, Sam Shepard (1943–2017) wrote fifty-six produced plays, for which he won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. He was also a compelling, Oscar-nominated film actor, appearing in scores of films. Shepard also published eight books of prose and poetry and was a director (directing the premiere productions of ten of his plays as well as two films); a musician (a drummer in three rock bands); a horseman; and a plain-spoken intellectual. The famously private Shepard gave a significant number of interviews over the course of his public life, and the interviewers who respected his boundaries found him to be generous with his time and forthcoming on a wide range of topics. The selected interviews in Conversations with Sam Shepard begin in 1969 when Shepard, already a multiple Obie winner, was twenty-six and end in 2016, eighteen months before his death from complications of ALS at age seventy-three. In the interim, the voice, the writer, and the man evolved, but there are themes that echo throughout these conversations: the indelibility of family; his respect for stage acting versus what he saw as far easier film acting; and the importance of music to his work. He also speaks candidly of his youth in California, his early days as a playwright in New York City, his professionally formative time in London, his interests and influences, the mythology of the American Dream, his own plays, and more. In Conversations with Sam Shepard, the playwright reveals himself in his own words.
A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century
Author: Susan Ware
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Entries on almost five hundred women representing a wide range of fields of endeavor are featured in a collection of biographical essays that integrate each woman's personal life with her professional achievements, set in the context of historical develop
The Legendary Passion of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett
Author: Joan Mellen
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Category: Biography & Autobiography
In the first dual biography of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, New York Times bestselling author Joan Mellen sheds new light on two of the twentieth century's most intriguing characters. The first biographer to draw from the Hellman-Hammett archives at the University of Texas, and with unprecedented access to their circle of friends, Mellen taps mines of fresh material to produce a groundbreaking look at these extraordinary American nonconformists, separately and together. Cutting against the social and political grain of their day, Hellman and Hammett as proud American radicals were persecuted during McCarthyism. They also turned out some of the most compelling prose of our country: Hammett's classic Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon, and The Thin Man, and Hellman's plays The Little Foxes, Watch on the Rhine, and her memoirs An Unfinished Woman and Pentimento. Meanwhile, Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett defied every accepted formula of how a man and woman should love each other: intimate as a couple, they lived together infrequently, drank to excess, participated in orgies, and engaged in flagrant infidelities. For the first time, members of Hellman and Hammett's circle, including Peter Feibleman, Norman Mailer, and Rose Styron, have agreed to speak openly about this enigmatic relationship which defined an era.
How forty-one women—including Dorothy Parker, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Lena Horne—were forced out of American television and radio in the 1950s “Red Scare.” At the dawn of the Cold War era, forty-one women working in American radio and television were placed on a media blacklist and forced from their industry. The ostensible reason: so-called Communist influence. But in truth these women—among them Dorothy Parker, Lena Horne, and Gypsy Rose Lee—were, by nature of their diversity and ambition, a threat to the traditional portrayal of the American family on the airwaves. This book from Goldsmiths Press describes what American radio and television lost when these women were blacklisted, documenting their aspirations and achievements. Through original archival research and access to FBI blacklist documents, The Broadcast 41 details the blacklisted women's attempts in the 1930s and 1940s to depict America as diverse, complicated, and inclusive. The book tells a story about what happens when non-male, non-white perspectives are excluded from media industries, and it imagines what the new medium of television might have looked like had dissenting viewpoints not been eliminated at such a formative moment. The all-white, male-dominated Leave it to Beaver America about which conservative politicians wax nostalgic existed largely because of the forcible silencing of these forty-one women and others like them. For anyone concerned with the ways in which our cultural narrative is constructed, this book offers an urgent reminder of the myths we perpetuate when a select few dominate the airwaves.