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A difficult woman : the challenging life and times of Lillian Hellman

Author: Alice Kessler-Harris
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2012.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
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  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Lillian Hellman; Lillian Hellman
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Alice Kessler-Harris
ISBN: 9781596913639 1596913630
OCLC Number: 738346448
Description: 439 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
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.
Responsibility: Alice Kessler-Harris.

Abstract:

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 (House Un-American Activities Committee). A Difficult Woman is a major work of literary and intellectual history. - Publisher.

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