Just Words: Lillian Hellman, Mary McCarthy, and the Failure of Public Conversation in America (Paperback)Alan Ackerman (author)
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In an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1980, the critic Mary McCarthy glibly remarked that every word author Lillian Hellman wrote was a lie, "including 'and' and 'the.'" Hellman immediately filed a libel suit, charging that McCarthy's comment was not a legitimate conversation on public issues but an attack on her reputation. This intriguing book offers a many-faceted examination of Hellman's infamous suit and explores what it tells us about tensions between privacy and self-expression, freedom and restraint in public language, and what can and cannot be said in public in America.
Publisher: Yale University Press
Number of pages: 376
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 25 mm
"Ackerman does an admirable job of tying this case to the great issues of the mid-twentieth century. He uses Hellman and McCarthy as a pretext for fascinating digressions about John Dewey's commission on Leon Trotsky, the history of Latin instruction in America, and the culture's attitude toward abortion in the 1930s."-Franklin Foer, The New Republic-- Franklin Foer * The New Republic *
"A worthy exploration of the conflicts created when issues of free speech, publicity, and privacy intersect. The book will make a welcome addition to both general academic and law school libraries."-Donna M. Fisher, Law Library Journal -- Donna M. Fisher * Law Library Journal *
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