In this groundbreaking portrait of a courageous icon of independence, Hilary A. Hallett (GC History PhD, 2005) traces Elinor Glyn’s meteoric rise from a depressed society darling to a world-renowned celebrity author who consorted with world leaders from St. Petersburg to Cairo to New York. After reporting from the trenches during World War I, Glyn was lured by American movie producers from Paris to Los Angeles for her remarkable third act. Weaving together years of deep archival research, Hallett movingly conveys how Glyn crafted early Hollywood’s glamorous romantic aesthetic. She taught the screen’s greatest leading men to make love in ways that set audiences aflame, and coined the term “It Girl,” which turned actress Clara Bow into the symbol of the first sexual revolution.
Hilary A. Hallett on Elinor Glyn and the Invention of the It Girl
in conversation with David Nasaw
Thursday, February 16, 6:30 pm
The Kelly Skylight Room, the Graduate Center
Hilary A. Hallett is the Mendelson Family Professor and director of American studies and associate professor of history at Columbia University. The author of Go West, Young Women! The Rise of Early Hollywood, she has written for the Los Angeles Times.
Graduate Center Professor Emeritus David Nasaw is a founding member of Radical History Review. His most recent book is The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War (2020). In addition, he is the author of prize-winning biographies that have been short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize, including The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst; Andrew Carnegie; and The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy.
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