An accidental find: Hellman's history.

Occasionally I just search, in an aimless way, where one tangled path leads to another.

It was on such a search that I found this review of yet another biography of Lillian Hellman.

It was Hellman who inspired the title of this blog, a play on words, but still a phrase plucked from one of Lillian Hellman's memoirs.

A complex person, Hellman's memoirs fascinated me more than her plays, although they too had a ring that demanded attention.

Although there is nothing to argue with in the review by Carl Rollyson, there is also no room for forgiveness or understanding in his statements.

Writing is a skill, a craft, a path, a resonance, a fabrication and often a lie. It is difficult to judge where craft turns to crafty even for the person putting pen to paper, and I believe in Lillian Hellman's case, prevarication was part of her temperament.

A strong personality, with certain charms, but not the attractive woman she wanted to be, or even perhaps the writer she imagined she'd become, I can't fault her embroidering the stories she created, or the liberties she took in her fiction or her memoirs.

Not only do we live our lives, we remarkably and often unintentionally embellish our memories. If embellishment is a crime, Hellman is guilty, but if embellishment is to be understood, it should be granted more leniency than offered by those who knew her or wished they knew her--because to create a biography is a love affair, and for reasons of the unconscious, Mr.Rollyson seems to be enamoured with Lillian Hellman.

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