Imitations of Life: Fannie Hurst's Gaslight Sonatas

Imitations of Life: Fannie Hurst's Gaslight Sonatas

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In the early 1920s, Fannie Hurst's enormous popularity made her the highest-paid writer in America. She conquered the literary scene at the same time the silent movie industry began to emerge as a tremendously profitable and popular form of entertainment. Abe C. Ravitz parallels Hurst's growing acclaim with the evolution of silent films, from which she borrowed ideas and techniques that furthered her career. Ravitz notes that Hurst was amazingly adept at anticipating what the public wanted. Sensing that the national interest was shifting from rural to urban subjects, Hurst set her immigrant tales and her "woiking goil" tales in urban America. In her early stories, she tried to bridge the gap between Old World and New World citizens, each somewhat fearful and suspicious of the other. She wrote of love and ethnicity - bringing the Jewish Mother to prominence - of race relations and prejudice, of the woman alone in her quest for selfhood. Ravitz argues, in fact, that her socially oriented tales and her portraits of women in the city clearly identify her as a forerunner of contemporary feminism. Ravitz brings to life the popular culture from 1910 through the 1920s, tracing the meteoric rise of Hurst and depicting the colorful cast of characters surrounding her. He reproduces for the first time the Hurst correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, Charles and Kathleen Norris, and Gertrude Atherton. He examines her important friendships with the early sentimental screenwriter Frances Marion and with theatrical producer turned movie mogul Daniel Frohman. Fellow writers Rex Beach and Vachel Lindsay also play important roles in Ravitz's portrait of Hurst, as does Zora Neale Hurston, who awakenedHurst's interest in the Harlem Renaissance and in race relations, as shown in Hurst's novel Imitation of Life.
The Walking Man

The Walking Man

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Poetry
Western Writers Series

Western Writers Series

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Alfred Henry Lewis, noted journalist and author, was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1855, the son of Isaac Lewis, a carpenter. When Lewis was quite young his family moved to Painesville, Ohio. Alfred H. Lewis married in Richfield, Ohio in 1879 to Miss Alice Ewing, the daughter of Dr. A. E. Ewing. Lewis was educated as a lawyer and began to practice in Cleveland. From 1879 to 1881 he was a police prosecutor in that city. While still a lawyer, Lewis began to dabble in newspaper work as a Cleveland police reporter. About 1882, he moved west to Kansas City, and from there traveled in the southwest collecting frontier lore from the colorful characters of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The cowboys and miners Lewis met in his western travels became the dominant figures in his books. His first western sketches were printed in Kansas City newspapers. They were stories of the "Old Cattleman," signed "Dan Quin," his pseudonym. -- IMDB