Lillian Hellman was an American playwright and screenwriter, born on June 20, 1905, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is best known for her plays that explore social and political issues, often drawing from her own experiences and observations. Hellman’s works are characterized by their strong female characters and their examination of power dynamics and moral dilemmas.

Influenced by her upbringing in the South and her experiences during the Great Depression and World War II, Hellman’s writing often delves into themes of class, injustice, and the abuse of power. Her plays, such as “The Children’s Hour” (1934) and “The Little Foxes” (1939), challenged societal norms and received critical acclaim for their boldness and social commentary.

Hellman’s works had a significant impact on the genre of American drama, as she was one of the first female playwrights to achieve widespread recognition and success. Her plays continue to be performed and studied today, and she is regarded as a pioneering figure in American theater.

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  • 1973 Pentimento: A Book of Portraits, by Lillian Hellman

    Pentimento: A Book of Portraits is a collection of memoirs and personal essays that offer a glimpse into the author’s life and the people she encountered throughout her career. The title, Pentimento, refers to the art technique of painting over a previous layer to reveal a hidden image, which is used as a metaphor for the process of remembering and reflecting on one’s past.

    The book includes portraits of several notable figures, including Hellman’s former lover, writer Dashiell Hammett, and her friend, the painter Arthur Gold. Hellman also writes about her experiences during the McCarthy era, when she was blacklisted for her political beliefs. Pentimento received critical acclaim for its insightful and candid portrayal of the author’s life and the people who influenced her.