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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Six Plays by Lillian Hellman Paperback – October 12, 1979

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

These six plays span nearly twenty years of theatre and display the range of Lillian Hellman's dramatic gifts. The Children's Hour (1934), her first play, was considered shocking at the time; it concerns the devastating effects of a child's malicious charge of lesbianism against two of her teachers. Days to Come (1936) is about the tragic consequences of strike-breaking in a small Midwestern community. The Little Foxes (1939) and Another Part of the Forest (1946) together constitute a chilling study of the financial and psychological conflicts within the Hubbards, a wealthy and rapacious Southern family. Watch on the Rhine (1941), the story of how fascism affects an American family and the refugees they harbor, won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The Autumn Garden (1951) is a poignant yet humorous drama set at a summer resort near New Orleans.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 494 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 12, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394741129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394741123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At present, it seems the Lillian Hellman's life has eclipsed her career as a playwright. Her tumultuous affair with mystery writer Dashiell Hammett and her refusal to testify before the House Un-American Affairs Committee are widely-known. Her memoir of a humanitiarian errard during World War II (filmed as the movie "Julia") spawned a great debate on the trustworthiness of her memory.
Yet we hear much less about her plays, six of which are collected in this volume. Perhaps the best known are "The Little Foxes" (in which Tallulah Bankhead starred on Broadway, with Bette Davis taking over the lead in the 1941 movie) and "The Children's Hour" (made into a 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine). "The Little Foxes" and its prequel "Another Part of the Forest" trace the financial intrigues and infighting of an Alabama family at the turn of the century. Their struggles reflect the social issues facing the post-bellum South; more importantly their scheming and bask-stabbing are great fun. "The Children's Hour" shocked audiences with its frank portrayal (for 1934) of allegations of lesbianism in a girls' boarding school. (In fact, the 1936 film of the play, "These Three" substituted a heterosexual scandal.) Yet Hellman's depiction of the effects of gossip (and what we would today term "homosexual panic') still has the ring of authenticity.
A new discovery for me was the play "Watch on the Rhine," first produced in 1941. The standard description of this play as a portrayal of the effects of fascism on an American family, though true enough, may give a false impression. It's not a preachy play, but almost a comedy of manners, pitting some quaint Europeans against a "normal" American family.
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Format: Paperback
It's unclear to me how such wonderful plays could have escaped my reading for this long.

A casual conversation led me to get this book in order to read the emotionally jarring "The Children's Hour." But that ended up only being the icing on the cake. Every one of the plays in this book display Hellman's mastery of dramatic form, story development, and the anti-climax.

She is direct and yet somehow understated. It's a wonder to me that her name is not mentioned more often in the context it deserves, as a great American playwright. I believe those who see her in the shadow of other playwrights should rethink their comparisons. Hellman stands on her own and deserves careful consideration. In any event, I think everone should read these plays and decide for themselves.

Of particular interest to me is the play "Days to Come." On the surface it tells the story of a small town dealing with the pressures of Organized Labor and Organized Crime. But there is a subtext of human turmoil that is executed expertly. The second act is particularly sharp, with great dialogue that challenges you to read between the lines. While the complexity and number of character might make this a tough production for a small independant playhouse, there is much in her writing to be admired.

I'm glad I took the opportunity to read what I believe to be gems in the rough. I hope more people will do the same.
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Format: Paperback
This collection for some reason has different editions than any of the acting ones. The editions included honestly aren't as good.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ordered a book of plays from these guys. They listed it as good, but it was full of markings, and the pages were creased throughout. I'd call it poor.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this just for The Children's Hour, but was delighted by the rest of the plays. She was a wonderful playwright and storyteller.
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Reading plays may not be for everyone. But Lillian's works are well worth trying. I think anyone would enjoy them.
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