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Imitations of Life

Fannie Hurst's Gaslight Sonatas

Abe C. Ravitz

Publication Year: 2009

Fannie Hurst was a very popular Jewish-American writer in the 1910s and 1920s who mixed with a lot of well-known writers, while also connecting with the silent film scene.  Ravitz parallels Hurst’s growing acclaim with the evolution of silent films, from which she borrowed ideas and techniques that furthered her career.          The author argues that she should be considered one of the forerunners of feminism

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Front piece

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Book Title

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

All letters cited or quoted herein are part of the Fannie Hurst Papers in the collections of the Harry Ransom. Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin, and are used by courtesy of the Center and with permission of Hurst's copyright holders...

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1. Woman in the Big Town: Career and Life

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pp. 1-33

Had Fannie Hurst been born a century she might have found herself denigrated by novelist/critic William Gilmore Simms as a writer of that "very inferior" school of fiction known as the "social life novel," or even by damned Nathaniel Hawthorne as one of those "female scribblers" whose popular sentimental...

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2. Recognition and Acclaim: Gaslight Sonatas

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pp. 34-85

From the earliest steps in her writing career, Fannie Hurst manifested a creative intuition perfectly attuned to the sensibilities of her time. Coming along in the Progressive Era, when the "lady of the decoration" was in vogue, surrounded by a fanciful, sentimental ethos, the attentive author herself experienced the public's...

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3. Cinematic Visualization: The Novel

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pp. 86-104

Fannie Hurst's literary journey into the I920s was in large measure propelled by the aesthetic design and technical invention of the silent movies whose national popularity was beginning to supersede mere nickelodeon novelty. Though photoplays were still...

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4. Fashionable Shapes: Social Rhapsodies of the 1920s

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pp. 105-151

I n I923 Fannie Hurst achieved her ultimate refinement of cinematic strategy with Lummox, the author's personal favorite, which she called the result "of my growing absorption in the fnilling masses," Her generally silent, inarticulate heroine Bertha, a struggling

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5. The Triumph of Industry: Women in Love

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pp. 152-176

Undaunted by brickbats of hostile critics, Fannie Hurst sailed into the 1930S buoyed not only by her army of dedicated readers but also by the lasting literary friendships she had made and the sociopolitical connections she had forged. Her longtime affection for and association with the Norrises, Charles G. (CeeGee)...


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pp. 177-192

Selected Short Stories of Fannie Hurst Published Before 1933

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pp. 193-196


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pp. 197-202

Author Bio

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pp. 203

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809386635
E-ISBN-10: 0809386631
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809329083
Print-ISBN-10: 0809329085

Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 1 b/w halftone
Publication Year: 2009