Lillian Hellman: The life and legend of America’s most controversial playwright

Written by Carl Rollyson

Through diaries, letters, government files, and interviews Carl Rollyson draws a vital and vibrant portrait of the life, the work, and the legend of Lillian Hellman, America’s most controversial radical playwright.

Rollyson explores the sources and backgrounds of her best-selling memoirs, the development of her politics, her successful screenwriting career, and her famous appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He provides entertaining and informative accounts of her feud with Mary McCarthy, her many love affairs and surprising friendships.

Lilian Hellman is a provocative and compelling portrayal of this complex and brilliant woman, who was called everything from a “viper”, “a goddam liar” to “an empathetic genius with a highly original and penetrating mind.” Near death, Hellman spoke of being blocked; this biography will show what got in her way.

‘Meticulous narrative’ – New York Times Book Review

‘Recommended for both lay readers and scholars’ – Library Journal

Carl Rollyson is a writer whose biographies include Beautiful Exile: The Life of Martha Gellhorn and Marie Curie: Honesty in Science. A well-known scholar of biography, he has also published Reading Biography, Essays in Biography, Lives of the Novelists, and British Biography: A Reader.


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