Leane Zugsmith

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Leane Zugsmith (January 18, 1903 – October 13, 1969) was a novelist and short story writer who lived in the USA.


  • Bart, the hairdresser, sassed the customers when he wasnt clowning or reciting brash tales about his private life. The customers seemed to enjoy it.
  • Mrs. H., the seamstress, and her mysterious husband whom nobody had everseen, it was assumed that he was bedridden, since the dressmaker frequently would excuse herself, saying, "Would you mind if I just take a look in at Mr. H?" There really was no Mr. H. The backroom contained nothing but a bed, and a chiffonier, on whose flat top stood a decanter, bearing the inscription "Gin" and wearing around it's neck a tag, "Henry Hanse." No one and nothing else occupied the room but an easel; on it reposed a portrait of a youngish man wearing a very tall collar and a large stickpin in his tie.
  • No one would suppose that they were mother and daughter and few really knew. Sometimes her mother introduced her as her sister; more often, as a young friend.
  • Every day he expected to find in his mail an anonymous letter, beginning "It may interest you to know that your wife..."
    • beginning of "Mr. Milliner" short story in The New Yorker, March 20, 1936

The Summer Soldier (1938)

  • Throughout the afternoon, the woman's voice had been seldom heard. With her pale clean hands curved around the rolled papers on her lap, she sat on a folding chair beside the dusty filing cabinets. More frequently than she spoke, she uttered a succession of dry sounds, clearing her throat. Behind the desk, the red-haired man in shirt sleeves, with tie and collar loosened, was reading aloud in a voice that matched his imperturbable expression. He looked up from his letters only when the man sitting on the window sill interrupted him with an explosive comment. (first lines)
  • "Why don't you marry me?" "Because I don't want to. I don't want to marry any one." She felt stifled and ill, and she pushed him away, saying irritably: "Anyway, you're a Fascist, too." (Chapter 6, p106)
  • ...she stayed behind in the vestibule of the train, leaning against the wall in an effort to knit together her nerves before she faced the others. (Chapter seven, p107)
  • He warned himself: the one luxury you can't afford is to lose your temper, understand? (Chapter Ten, p169)
  • he thought: this is it. I heard about it; read about it; now I am seeing it. For us, perhaps, there may be only the threat of the men outside. For the others, the threat has become the act. The sequence is manifest, he thought: first, the handful of deputies, next, the organized band of vigilantes, and, finally, the uniformed army of storm troopers. As it happened in Italy, as it happened in Germany, as it is happening in Spain. Now I have had the unclean thing flung into my face. Did I love my own land so much that I thought it could remain undefiled? Did the signs before me in my part of the country appear so faint that I hoped they could easily be washed away? Very well. Now I know; and never will forget and never will stop fighting it. They won't let us have our way of salvation, will they? The corners of his jaw muscles bulged out. While we try to bring it about through love and cooperation, they crush us. They are the law-breakers. They don't give a hang for man-made laws. They never heard of our Father's law that we live together as His children. They use their money and their power, he thought, to degrade other men, like those poor hirelings riding outside, bought by the pro-consuls of the steel and textile corporations. I say that they are making monsters of one set of men in order to crush another set of men. Laws will not stop them, now I know, or reform them, since they admit no laws. We must stop them. Submission won't stop them, he told himself; that's what they want. Jesus didn't teach submission; He taught a morality of initiative. Jesus would have known at once that their violence can be defeated only by action. Very well. Now I know. (Chapter 13, p241)
  • "God-damn! keep your trap shut," he said and blew a suffocating plume of corn whiskey breath into the minister's face. "They ain't nobody going to hear you except us who are going to teach you that whites in the South are not allowed to wallow with niggers and hogs." Shoemaker made no reply. He recrossed his arms, pressing them tight against his chest, thinking: I didn't know men could be so mean. (Chapter 13, 258)
  • The two men, leaning against the billboard in the vacant corner lot, had not spoken for the past fifteen minutes. Victor Hoge was gouging splinters out of a wooden stick with seamed and cracked hands that had not become accustomed to idleness. Jean Boileau, younger, had learned in the last few months, in his cell, in the courtroom and now in his liberty pending appeal, how to remain immobile. Yet it was he who spoke first.
    • beginning of "One of Us." Also published in New Masses (Dec 24, 1935)
  • The rush of cold air and the buzz of voices woke Pop from his doze. "What's that, what's that?" he said testily, leaning forward in the Morris chair that he would not let Joanna sell. (first lines of "King Lear in Evansville")
  • More women than men came down the gang-plank, many of them wearing trousers with ill-fitting overcoats buttoned around them. In the harsh noon light, they appeared to have a curious kinship. They all looked as though something had been chilled inside of them and then hollowed out. Although some were shouting, like the men and women on the pier, although some were hysterical, like the men and women crowding around the plank, although some were dazed, there was a difference between them and the persons who awaited them. Some cheerful, recognizable human quality had been subtracted from them. They were the second group of survivors from the Matrix, the pleasure ship that had gone to the bottom before it had even reached Caribbean waters. (beginning of "To Be Alive")
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