In May 1947 , a full - page advertisement , written and signed by Hecht and
addressed to the Irgun , appeared in the New ... The British papers , which until
then seemed scarcely to have heard of Ben Hecht , launched an all - out
Author: Doug Fetherling
Publisher: Lester & Orpen Dennys Publishers
Category: Authors, American
As a writer, Ben Hecht (1894-1964) operated on many fronts and just as many levels. As a Chicago reporter in the wide-open 1920s, he created a frenetic and extravagant style of journalism. Later, he made his mark as a novelist of the bizarre, and was also one of the most popular playwrights of his day. Still later, as a screenwriter and sometime director in the golden age of Hollywood, he left a permanent stamp on films and on movie legend. Hecht was a prolific writer (35 books and twice as many films) and has come to seem just as prodigious in the combined folklore of Broadway, the movie industry and the newspaper business. But the fact that he worked in so many fields simultaneously has tended to blur his reputation. In this introduction to Hecht's personality and works, Doug Fetherling breaks Hecht's career into five overlapping "lives" or phases. First, there are the darlings of the avant garde, Hecht the Iconoclast and Hecht the Bohemian, at war with the ordinary, who brought about a new appreciation of the modern urban sensibility. Next was Hecht the Sophisticate, who mixed a unique concoction of sentiment and cynicism, a blend that remains a feature of his work and of popular culture between the wars. Then there was Hecht the Propagandist, who, in his work on behalf of the Jewish people, managed to alienate all sides of a bitterly fought series of political confrontations. Finally, there was Hecht the Memoirist who, drawing on previous selves, brought new vigor to what is often a stodgy literary form. While the Hollywood Hecht is best remembered today, Fetherling argues that the whole of his work must be viewed before we can gain insight into any of its parts. In so doing, he has written the first serious examination of a writer who, while at odds with his times, is one without whom they would not have been quite the same.--From publisher description.