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June 18 , 2011

Elizabeth Visits America


Dodo Collections brings you another classic from Elinor Glyn, ‘Elizabeth Visits America.’
“Now we are staying in a country palace with the family we met on the boat, whom the Americans we know in England would not speak to; in fact, I am sure they are rather hurt at our coming here; but Octavia says she prefers to see something we do not see in England. The Van Verdens, and Courtfields and Latours are almost like us, only they are richer and have better French furniture. So she says she wants to see the others, the American Americans we don’t meet at home.”
Elinor Glyn began her writing in 1900, starting with a book based on letters to her mother, ‘The Visits of Elizabeth’. And thereafter she more or less wrote one book each year to keep the wolf from the door, as her husband was debt-ridden from 1908, and also to keep up her standard of living. After several years of illness her husband died in 1915.
Early in her writing career she was recognised as one of the pioneers of what could be called erotic fiction, although not by modern-day standards, and she coined the use of the world ‘It’ to mean at the time sex-appeal and she helped to make Clara Bow a star by the use of the sobriquet for her of ‘The It Girl’.
On the strength of her reputation and success she moved to Hollywood in 1920 and in 1921 was featured as one of the famous personalities in a Ralph Barton cartoon drawn especially for ‘Vanity Fair’ magazine.
A number of her books were made into films, most notably ‘Beyond the Rocks’ (1906), which starred Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson, and she was a scriptwriter for the silent movie industry, working for both MGM and Paramount Pictures in the mid-1920s. In addition she also had a brief career as one of the earliest female directors.
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