Fannie Hurst

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Fannie Hurst and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1962

Fannie Hurst (October 19, 1885 – February 23, 1968) was an American novelist and short-story writer whose works were highly popular during the post-World War I era.


Gaslight Sonatas (1918)[edit]

Gaslight Sonatas (1918).

  • Do you know it is said that on the Desert of Sahara, the slope of Sorrento, and the marble of Fifth Avenue the sun can shine whitest? There is an iridescence to its glittering on bleached sand, blue bay, and Carrara façade that is sheer light distilled to its utmost.
  • When the two sides of every story are told, Henry VIII may establish an alibi or two, Shylock and the public-school system meet over and melt that too, too solid pound of flesh, and Xantippe, herself the sturdier man than Socrates, give ready, lie to what is called the shrew in her.
  • Dawn—then a blue, wintry sky, the color and hardness of enamel; and sunshine, bright, yet so far off the eye could stare up to it unsquinting.
  • The heart has a resiliency. Strained to breaking, it can contract again. Even the waiting women, Iseult and Penelope, learned, as they sat sorrowing and watching, to sing to the swing of the sea.
  • It was any hotel suite now—uncompromising; leave me or take me.

Humoresque: A Laugh On Life With A Tear Behind It (1920)[edit]

Humoresque: A Laugh On Life With A Tear Behind It (1920)

  • On either side of the Bowery, which cuts through like a drain to catch its sewage, Every Man's Land, a reeking march of humanity and humidity, steams with the excrement of seventeen languages, flung in patois from tenement windows, fire escapes, curbs, stoops, and cellars whose walls are terrible and spongy with fungi.
  • Beneath, where even in August noonday, the sun cannot find its way by a chink, and babies lie stark naked in the cavernous shade, Allen Street presents a sort of submarine and greenish gloom, as if its humanity were actually moving through a sea of aqueous shadows, faces rather bleached and shrunk from sunlessness as water can bleach and shrink.
  • Typical New-Yorker is the pseudo, half enviously bestowed upon his kind by hinter America.
  • The Declaration of Economic Independence is not always a subtle one. There was that about Clara Bloom, even to the rather Hellenic swing of her very tailor-made back and the firm, neat clack of her not too high heels, which proclaimed that a new century had filed her fetter-free from the nine-teen-centuries-long chain of women whose pin-money had too often been blood-money or the filched shekels from trousers pocket or what in the toga corresponded thereto.

Lummox (1923)[edit]

Lummox (1923).

  • Nervous hands as if the fingers were dripping from them like icicles.
  • Luscious feet that listened to the soil and stole its secrets.
  • Oh—oh, why is it that the members of a family feel privileged to treat one another with a cruelty they would not exhibit to the merest stranger?
  • Art transcends war. Art is the language of God and war is the barking of men. Beethoven is bigger than war.
  • If it means loathing war sufficiently to bear the unpleasant brunt of being branded a coward, I suppose I am a pacifist.

Quotes about Fannie Hurst[edit]

  • Miss Fannie Hurst joined us, having driven over from her retreat in the Catskill Mountains. Even the children fell under the spell of her personality and listened with great interest to all she had to tell us... . What wouldn’t I give to have her gift of writing, for if ever any one had material for stories spread before them, I certainly have had it in the past few years!
  • I am reading Fannie Hurst's book, "Great Laughter" and though I have only just begun, the character of Gregrannie, a dominating old woman, with many fine qualities, and her effect on those around her is tremendously interesting.
    • Eleanor Roosevelt in My Day, October 15, 1936
  • Hurst's books are characterized by purple prose and questionable grammar, but manage to fuse the basic elements of what we now call romance novels with a progressive attitude toward the hot button social issues of the day.
    • Philip Quarles, WNYC, October 22, 2012
  • …basically a fairly corny artist. We all know people who can write beautifully and can't tell a story worth a damn. She is really a wonderful storyteller.
    • Kenneth Dale McCormick, Doubleday's editor, WNYC, October 22, 2012

External links[edit]

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