Lillian Hellman - Life Stories, Books, and Links
Biographical Information

Stories about Lillian Hellman

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

Recommended links
Picture of Lillian Hellman, author of The Children's Hour, The Little Foxes, and other plays; playwright / dramatist; twentieth century American Literature and drama
Lillian Hellman   (1905 - 1984)
Category:  American Literature
Born:  June 20, 1905
New Orleans, Louisianna, United States
Died:  June 30, 1984
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, United States
Related authors:
Arthur Miller, Dashiell Hammett
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Lillian Hellman - LIFE STORIES
11/20/1934     Lillian Hellman on Telling
On this day in 1934, Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour opened on Broadway. The play was based on a student-teacher scandal in Edinburgh in 1809; although banned in some cities for its lesbian overtones, it began the string of hits that made Hellman one of the most popular playwrights in mid-century America, and eventually brought her into collision with Senator McCarthy.
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An Unfinished Woman
Conversations With Lillian Hellman
by Jackson R. Bryer (Editor), Lillian Hellman
interviews, memoirs
Little Foxes
Scoundrel Time
Six Plays by Lillian Hellman
The Children's Hour
The Lark
by Jean Anouilh, Lillian Hellman
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A Likely Story: One Summer With Lillian Hellman
by Rosemary Mahoney
American Women Writers and the Nazis: Ethics and Politics in Boyle, Porter, Stafford, and Hellman
by Thomas Carl Austenfeld
analysis and criticism
Ex-Friends: Falling out with Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer
by Norman Podhoretz
Hellman in Hollywood
by Bernard F. Dick
Lillian Hellman
by Saundra Towns
Lillian Hellman, Playwright
by Richard Moody
Lillian Hellman: A Research and Production Sourcebook
by Barbara Lee Horn
guide, non-fiction
Lillian Hellman: Her Legend and Her Legacy
by Carl Rollyson
Lillian Hellman: The Image, the Woman
by William Wright
Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman
by Peter Feibleman
The Cold War Romance of Lillian Hellman and John Melby
by Robert P. Newman
literary history
The Stolen Legacy of Anne Frank: Meyer Levin, Lillian Hellman, and the Staging of the Diary
by Ralph Melnick
Understanding Lillian Hellman
by Alice Griffin
criticism and analysis
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Article "Dashiell Hammett: A Memoir"
Read a November 1965 article by Hellman from the pages of the New York Review of Books. Highly recommended.

"I do not wish to avoid the subject of Hammett's political beliefs but the truth is that I do not know if he was a member of the Communist Party and I never asked him. If that seems an odd evasion between two people we did not mean it as an evasion: it was, probably, the product of the time we lived through and a certain unspoken agreement about privacy. Now, in looking back, I think we had rather odd rules about privacy, unlike other people's rules. We never, for example, asked each other about money, how much something cost or how much something earned, although each of us gave to the other as, through the years, each of us needed it. It does not matter much to me that I don't know if he was a Communist Party member. Most certainly he was a Marxist. But he was a very critical Marxist, often contemptuous of the Soviet Union in the same hick sense that many Americans are contemptuous of foreigners. He was often witty and biting sharp about the American Communist Party, but he was, in the end, loyal to them."
PAL: Perspectives in American Literature
Offers a bibliography of works and articles by and about the playwright.
PBS: American Masters
Read a short biography that offers insight on Hellman's early years, relationship with Dashiell Hammett, and critical successes.

"At the prompting of Hammett, Hellman took her first leap into professional writing with a play about two teachers accused of being lesbians by a privileged student. Overwhelmed by the accusation, one teacher kills herself. 'The Children's Hour,' was a gripping emotional tale about the abuse of power and its effects. The play was an enormous hit on Broadway (running for more than seven hundred performances), and brought the young playwright instant recognition. She followed it soon after with 'In Days To Come' (1936) and 'The Little Foxes' (1939). 'The Little Foxes' was a story about three siblings struggling for control over a family business. Primarily an indictment of capitalist motives, it was also a telling story of three individuals, and an investigation of their inner lives. This ability to blend strong politics with humane (though not sentimental) stories of individual struggles was one of Hellman's great achievements."
The Continental Detective Agency
Although primarily featuring articles about the life and works of Dashiell Hammett, this website offers a short annotated chronological timeline of events in the life of Lillian Hellman.

"There has been much speculation over how much input Hammett had in Hellman's work (the same fine literary tradition that says that William Shakespeare's plays were written by Christopher Marlowe or that the mysterious Thomas Pynchon is in fact JD Sallinger), but we feel that there is no evidence that Hammett was anything other than a particularly strict editor. Hammett suggested that 'The Great Drumsheugh Case' would make a good scenario for a play -- the true story of a scandal at a Scottish boarding school where a malicious pupil accused two teachers of having a lesbian affair. The play opened in November 1934 to great acclaim."
The Literature & Culture of the American 1950s
University of Pennsylvania professor Al Filreis has compiled a selection of poetry and documents from 1930s-50s America, including a 1996 article from the New York Times titled "Why Lillian Hellman Remains Fascinating", and an excerpt of Hellman's FBI File, as documented in Herbert Mitgang's Dangerous Dossiers: Exposing the Secret War Against America's Greatest Authors (New York, D.I. Fine, 1988):

"J. Edgar Hoover himself took a personal interest in Miss Hellman's activities. In a letter written to the FBI special agent in New York in 1943 - in the middle of World War II, when Nazi agents and the German American Bund were operating in the United States, Hoover called for a comprehensive report on her. In a surprisingly uncensored letter in her file, dated October 20, 1943, Hoover wrote: 'You are reminded that this subject has a national reputation through her writings in which she has opposed nazism and fascism. Under no circumstances should it be known that this bureau is conducting an investigation of her. It should be handled in a most discreet manner and under no circumstances should it be assigned to the local police or some other agency.'"
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March 17, 2018
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