THREE by Lillian Hellman


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An Unfinished Woman (1969), Pentimento (1973), and Scoundrel Time (1976) in one volume, with a fulsome introduction by Richard Pottier and interpolated comments by the author. Pottier writes as if Hellman were the first to confess herself fallible, false, uncertain (""we are faced with a unique kind of writing which will at one moment question the motives, even the authenticity of what was written the moment before""), and, worse, he extracts from the books for admiration and exegesis just those moments of recognition--like the surge between cousin Bethe and her Italian lover--that readers should come upon for themselves. But ardent readers of the memoirs on their first appearance, and especially of Pentimento, will no doubt snatch at further news of Julia and the still-mysterious Arthur W.A. Cowan; and Hellman takes the opportunity, also, to comment tartly on the roller-coaster reception of Scoundrel Time. The unfinished woman of the first instance is less well served, perhaps, by the elaborate wrap-up.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1979
Publisher: Little, Brown