The Olive Higgins Prouty appreciation thread

Am I the only person alive to have read Olive Higgins Prouty? I ordered four of her novels from Really terrific writer, completely forgotten today (the only books of hers to be filmed were Now, Voyager and Stella Dallas). She wrote really good “womens’ novels,” about relationships and society, and was rather bitter about motherhood and Mr. Right. Someone really should reissue some of her work!

Now, Voyager is one of my favorite movies and books, and she wrote four others in the “Vale family” series, White Fawn (1931), Lisa Vale (1938), Home Port (1947) and Fabia (1951). I’m reading them in order, and so far, White Fawn is very enjoyable.

Plus, they are all in 1940s/50s Dell paperback reprints, with the gaudiest trashy cover art!

I’ve never read any of her novels, but thanks to my mother, the Yummy Old Hollywood Film addict, I’ve seen both Now Voyager and Stella Dallas more than a few times.

The end of Stella Dallas always makes my mother weep. I don’t know if the same ending’s in the novel, but given the way that Hollywood back then used to emphasize melodrama…

The only other thing I know about OHP is that she was Sylvia Plath’s patron – SP attended Smith on a full scholarship which was underwritten by OHP. OHP also paid for Plath’s psychtriatric treatment.

Hmm, maybe I should make a trip to the library…

According to this website, “Prouty paid for the medical expenses associated with Plath’s attempted suicide in 1953, only to be caricatured as the fatuous Philomena Guinea in Plath’s novel The Bell Jar”. I don’t think Sylvia killed herself at all, I think Olive held the ungrateful bitch’s head in the oven!

The film version of Now, Voyager is a wonderful, direct translation of the book, a very faithful adaptation. It’s been years since I’ve read or seen Stella Dallas, but I’d bet that’s pretty on-target, too.

I’m afraid I’m not familiar with Olive Higgins Prouty (being stupid and all), but Eve’s quote above really made me laugh. :slight_smile:

Thanks, Eve!

Haven’t read “Stella Dallas”, but have read “Now, Voyager”. Loved it. I have a small hobby of collecting books on which films have been based - particularly those from the 30s-50s. Next on the nightstand - “Imitation of Life” by Fannie Hurst.


I hope you’ve seen the 1934 version, and not just the high-camp 1959 version!

And you must find the 1930 novel Back Street, by Fannie Hurst—it’s nothing like any of the film versions. A depressing, searing look at a woman who devotes her life to a married man.

By the way, I love the fact that we’re having a discussion about Fannie Hurst and Olive Higgins Prouty—I feel like a Helen Hokinson matron!

By the way, Veuve, I’m pretty sure I have a copy of Stella Dallas (the book, not the movie) lying about somewhere–if you’re interested, do e-mail me and I will be happy to send it to you.

And if you’re very, very nice, I have the book versions of Grand Hotel, Dancing Lady, Red-Headed Woman, Kitty Foyle and Call Her Savage . . .

I’ve seen both versions of IOL. I do like the first one better, but man - you can’t beat that Lana Turner and the Jean Louis fashions.

I’ve read “Back Street” and yeah - what a downer!


Eve - how terribly kind of you. By the way, I’m in NJ as I believe you are. Morris county, here.


I love Susan Hayward in Back Street suffering beautifully in her Jean Loius chiffon-trailing gowns . . . Be a big ol’ drama queen about it, I say! And Connie Bennett tearing into poor Lana Turner in Madame X: “You’re still a little shopgirl from the wrong side of the tracks!” Brilliant.

The books are another animal entirely: Back Street had me sobbing, in public, on a train! Not intentional camp, but the social and conversational attitudes make them of another time, closer in some ways to Jane Austen than Jackie Suzann.

Veuve, I’ve deleted your email address – it’s not necessarily a good idea to post it so publicly. (And, it was different from the email in your registration.)

You’re faily new here, so I took it upon myself (reported by a diligent member) to delete it. If you really want to post it, at least my actions have required second thoughts, and I’m sorry to have interfered. If the second thoughts cause you to regret having posted it, then I’ve done a kind deed.


I appreciate the concern, but now Eve can’t contact me - lol When I tried to email her privately, I got a message saying that I don’t have permission to access the page, so I have no idea.

Eve - if you ever see a big blonde in the Morris Plains area - just fling those books in my general direction. lol


Was that the sequel to Call Me Madam ? I bet Ethel Merman was hoot in a “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” leopard print leotard.

Ooooh, you’ve never seen the Clara Bow pre-Code flick, with S&M, gay bars, child molestors, race-mixing and hookers?

Dex, you may send** Veuve** my e-mail address, that she may get in touch with me, if that’s kosher.

Just an update . . . I am thoroughly enjoying my Olive Higgins Prouty One-Woman Book Club. She was a really good writer, certainly up there with Christopher Morley and Edna Ferber. And it’s fun to see the Now, Voyager characters in other situations (Lisa Vale, played by Ilka Chase in the movie, is a major character). So far I’ve read White Fawn (Ilka’s daughter Fabia falls for an Unsuitable Man, and is Gladys Cooper pissed-off!) and am in the middle of Lisa Vale (Ilka considers an affair).

Veuve, I do have a copy of Stella Dallas if you’d like it.