Fanny Herself

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University of Illinois Press, 1917 - Fiction - 323 pages
2 Reviews
Heralded by one reviewer as the most serious, extended, and dignified of [Edna] Ferber's books, Fanny Herself is the intensely personal chronicle of a young girl growing up Jewish in a small midwestern town. Packed with the warmth and the wry, sidelong wit that made Ferber one of the best-loved writers of her time, the novel charts Fanny's emotional growth through her relationship with her mother, the shrewd, sympathetic Molly Brandeis. You could not have lived a week in Winnebago without being aware of Mrs. Brandeis, Ferber begins, and likewise the story of Fanny Brandeis is inextricable from that of her vigorous, enterprising mother. Molly Brandeis is the owner and operator of Brandeis' Bazaar, a modest general store left to her by her idealistic, commercially inept late husband. As Fanny strives to carve out her own sense of herself, Molly becomes the standard by which she measures her intellectual and spiritual progress. toward her gift for sketching and drawing, and her inspired success as a businesswoman all contribute to the flesh-and-blood complexity of Ferber's youthful, eminently believable protagonist. She is accompanied on her journey by impeccably drawn characters such as Father Fitzpatrick, the Catholic priest in Winnebago; Ella Monahan, buyer for the glove department of the Haynes-Cooper mail order house; Fanny's brother, Theodore, a gifted violinist for whose musical education Molly sacrifices Fanny's future; and Clarence Heyl, the scrappy columnist who never forgot how Fanny rescued him from the school bullies. Ferber's only work of fiction with a strong autobiographical element, Fanny Herself showcases the author's enduring interest in the capacity of strong women to transcend the limitations of their environment and control their own circumstances. Through Fanny's honest struggle with conflicting values-financial security and corporate success versus altruism and artistic integrity-Ferber grapples with some of the most deeply embedded contradictions of the American spirit.
 

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User Review  - jeffome - LibraryThing

Interesting early 1900's story of a middle-American young Jewish girl setting out to claim success for herself in the opportunity-heavy world of business, mostly as a direct response to a childhood of ... Read full review

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User Review  - MerryMary - LibraryThing

I'll admit it. I love old-fashioned novels. This one concerns a small town girl who makes it big in Chicago in the brand new field of the mail order catalog. She tries mightily to submerge her ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
9
Section 2
20
Section 3
41
Section 4
50
Section 5
68
Section 6
88
Section 7
101
Section 8
132
Section 12
200
Section 13
210
Section 14
228
Section 15
242
Section 16
262
Section 17
275
Section 18
304
Section 19
311

Section 9
155
Section 10
177
Section 11
193
Section 20
319
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About the author (1917)

Edna Ferber was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Aug. 15, 1885. She spent her early career as a reporter. In 1910, Everybody's Magazine published her short story, The Homely Heroine, set in Appleton, Wisconsin. Ferber's novel, Dawn O'Hara, the story of a newspaperwoman in Milwaukee, followed in 1911. She gained national attention for her series of Emma McChesney stories, tales of a traveling underskirt saleswoman that were published in national magazines. A play based on the stories, Our Mrs. McChesney, was produced in 1915, starring Ethel Barrymore. With collaborator George S. Kaufman, Ferber wrote acclaimed plays Dinner at Eight and The Royal Family. Ferber won the Pulitzer Prize in 1925 for So Big, the story of a woman raising a child on a truck farm outside of Chicago. Her best known books include Show Boat, Cimarron, Giant and Ice Palace. Show Boat was made into a classic movie and Broadway musical; the film version of Cimarron, won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1931. Ferber wrote two autobiographies, A Peculiar Treasure published in 1939 and A Kind of Magic in 1963. She died of cancer on April 16, 1968.

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