« BACK

About the Book

Reviews

About the Author and Events

Special Features

  • ABOUT THE BOOK
  • REVIEWS
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND EVENTS
  • SPECIAL FEATURES
Lillian Hellman biography--cover Preview
January 20, 2014
224 P., 5.5" x 8.25"
9780300164978

Lillian Hellman: An Imperious Life

by Dorothy Gallagher

Glamorous, talented, audacious—her life Lillian Hellman knew everyone, did everything, had been everywhere. By the age of twenty-nine she had written The Children’s Hour, the first of four hit Broadway plays, and soon she was considered a member of America’s first rank of dramatists, a position she maintained for more than twenty-five years. Apart from her literary accomplishments—eight original plays and three volumes of memoirs—Hellman lived a rich life filled with notable friendships, controversial political activity, travel, and love affairs, most importantly with Dashiell Hammett. But by the time she died, the truth about her life and works had been called into question. Scandals attached to her name, having to do with sex, with money, and with her own veracity. Dorothy Gallagher confronts the conundrum that was Lillian Hellman—a woman with a capacity to inspire outrage as often as admiration. Exploring Hellman’s leftist politics, her Jewish and Southern background, and her famous testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Gallagher also undertakes a new reading of Hellman’s carefully crafted memoirs and plays, in which she is both revealed and hidden. Gallagher sorts through the facts and the myths, arriving at a sharply drawn portrait of a woman who lived large to the end of her remarkable life and never backed down from a fight.

Feature Review: 

"Unafraid to question Hellman’s idealized memoirs, Gallagher (Hannah’s Daughters) meets the 'unflaggingly famous' dramatist head on in this pithy biography." --Publishers Weekly

"Unafraid to question Hellman’s idealized memoirs, Gallagher (Hannah’s Daughters) meets the 'unflaggingly famous' dramatist head on in this pithy biography." --Publishers Weekly

"Gallagher has shown herself to be an incisive, sharp-edged, darkly humorous writer, and these qualities help engage readers in a study of Lillian Hellman...A critical appraisal of the subject’s character, career and contradictions."--Kirkus Reviews

"Gallagher …gives us an illuminating and convincing portrait of Lillian Hellman, the real one and the heroically fanciful one." --Steve Suskin, Playbill

Dorothy Gallagher

Dorothy Gallagher is the author of Hannah’s Daughters, All the Right Enemies, and the memoirs How I Came Into My Inheritance and Strangers in the House.

To see a full list of Hellman's writing credits -- Click Here