The author of numerous bestselling novels, a masterful short story writer, and an outspoken social activist, Fannie Hurst was a major celebrity in the first half of the twentieth century. Daniel Itzkovitz’s introduction situates Imitation of Life in its literary, biographical, and cultural contexts, addressing such topics as the debates over the novel and films, the role of Hurst’s one-time secretary and great friend Zora Neale Hurston in the novel’s development, and the response to the novel by Hurst’s friend Langston Hughes, whose one-act satire, “Limitations of Life” (which reverses the races of Bea and Delilah), played to a raucous Harlem crowd in the late 1930s. This edition brings a classic of popular American literature back into print.
Fannie Hurst (1889–1968) was a popular writer of many novels and short stories. Among her best-known works are Back Street (1930) and Lummox (1923).
Daniel Itzkovitz is Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts. He is a coeditor of Queer Theory and the Jewish Question.