Lillian Hellman by Deborah Martinson
A Life with Foxes and Scoundrels

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Synopsis

The first biography of Lillian Hellman-the notorious literary star of Broadway and Hollywood-written with the full cooperation of her executors and her most intimate circle

Few literary celebrities have lived with more abandon and under a brighter spotlight than Lillian Hellman. Yet even fewer have been doubted as absolutely as Hellman, famously denounced by rival Mary McCarthy as a writer for whom "every word was a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" The details of Hellman's life have been hotly contested for decades. She was the author of such Broadway hits as The Children's Hour and The Little Foxes; a Hollywood screenplay writer until she was blacklisted; a writer of best-selling memoirs such as An Unfinished Woman and Pentimento; and the volatile companion of writer Dashiell Hammett, foreign service officer John Melby, and a myriad of other high-profile men. Hellman refused to cooperate with biographers-most notably William Wright-and, up until her death, ordered those close to her to do the same.

Now, in this compelling biography Deborah Martinson moves beyond the myths that drift around Hellman and finds the sassy, outrageous woman committed to writing, to politics, and to having her say. Martinson's exhaustive research-through interviews, archives, and recently declassified CIA files-and her unprecedented access to Hellman's confidantes paints the most complete and surprisingly admiring portrait of Hellman that we've ever had.

 

About Deborah Martinson

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Martinson is associate professor of English writing and women's studies at Occidental College, Los Angeles.
 
Published November 1, 2005 by Counterpoint. 480 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Lillian Hellman

Publishers Weekly

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Martinson, an associate professor of English and writing at Occidental College, aims to capture a "more complex" and "human" Hellman than other biographers have. Her portrait of the

Oct 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Lillian Hellman: A Life with ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Martinson, an associate professor of English and writing at Occidental College, aims to capture a "more complex" and "human" Hellman than other biographers have. Her portrait of the

Oct 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Lillian Hellman: A Life with ...

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