Ferber, Edna


Ferber, Edna
born Aug. 15, 1887, Kalamazoo, Mich., U.S.
died April 16, 1968, New York, N.Y.

U.S. novelist and short-story writer.

Ferber began her career at age 17 as a reporter in Wisconsin. Her early stories were collected in Emma McChesney & Co. (1915) and other volumes. She won critical acclaim for such novels as So Big (1924, Pulitzer Prize) and Show Boat (1926), which, with music by Jerome Kern, became a seminal work of the American musical theatre. Among her later works is the novel Giant (1952; film, 1956). Her works offer a compassionate, lively portrait of middle-class Midwestern America.

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▪ American author
born August 15, 1885, Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
died April 16, 1968, New York, New York

      American novelist and short-story writer who wrote with compassion and curiosity about Midwestern American life.

      Ferber grew up mostly in her native Kalamazoo, Michigan, and in Appleton, Wisconsin (in between her family moved to several Midwestern towns). Her father, born in Hungary, was a merchant. She began her career at age 17 as a reporter in Appleton, later working for the Milwaukee Journal. Her early stories introduced a traveling petticoat saleswoman named Emma McChesney, whose adventures are collected in several books, including Emma McChesney & Co. (1915). Emma was the first of Ferber's strong, enterprising women characters. Ferber's characters are firmly tied to the land, and they experience conflicts between their traditions and new, more dynamic trends. Although her books are somewhat superficial in their careful attention to exterior detail at the expense of profound ideas, they do offer an accurate, lively portrait of middle-class Midwestern experience in 1920s and '30s America.

      So Big (1924)—about a woman truck gardener who provides for her son by her enterprise in managing the unsuccessful farm her husband left her—won a Pulitzer Prize. Show Boat (1926), the tale of a showboat trouper who is deserted by her husband and in the interests of survival becomes a successful singer, was made into a popular musical play by Jerome Kern (Kern, Jerome) and Oscar Hammerstein (Hammerstein, Oscar, II). Critics hailed Ferber as the greatest woman novelist of the period. Her novels Cimarron (1930), Saratoga Trunk (1941), Giant (1952), and Ice Palace (1958) were all made into motion pictures. Her autobiographies, A Peculiar Treasure (1939), which focuses in part on Ferber's pride in her Jewish heritage, and A Kind of Magic (1963), evince her genuine and encompassing love for America.

      She was associated with the Algonquin Round Table of literary wits, and she collaborated with George S. Kaufman (Kaufman, George S.) on a number of plays, including Dinner at Eight (1932) and Stage Door (1936).

Additional Reading
Julie Goldsmith Gilbert, Ferber: A Biography (1978; also published as Ferber: Edna Ferber and Her Circle, 1999), is a biography by the author's grandniece.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • FERBER, EDNA — (1887–1968), U.S. novelist and playwright. She was born into a middle class family in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and at the age of 17 became a newspaper reporter in Appleton, Wisconsin. Later she went to the Milwaukee Journal and the Chicago Tribune.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ferber, Edna — (1887–1968)    US novelist and playwright. Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Edna Ferber grew up in a small Jewish community affectionately described in her autobiography, A Peculiar Treasure (1939). She became a wellknown novelist with such works as… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Ferber, Edna — (1887 1968)    Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the novelist also wrote several popular plays. The Eldest (1920), her first solo effort, failed, but as a collaborator she fared better. In collaboration with George V. Hobart she wrote Our Mrs.… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Ferber, Edna — (15 ago. 1887, Kalamazoo, Mich., EE.UU.–16 abr. 1968, Nueva York, N.Y.). Novelista y cuentista estadounidense. A los 17 años inició su carrera como reportera en Wisconsin. Sus primeros cuentos se recopilaron en Emma McChesney & Co. (1915) y otros …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ferber,Edna — Fer·ber (fûrʹbər), Edna. 1887 1968. American writer who wrote several popular novels, including So Big (1924), which won a Pulitzer Prize. * * * …   Universalium

  • Ferber, Edna — (1887 1968)    American novelist. Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, she worked first as a journalist. Her works include Show Boat, Giant, So Big, Dawn O Hara, The Girls, Cimarron, Come and Get It and Saratoga Trunk. Together with George S. Kaufmann,… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Ferber — (izg. fèrber), Edna (1887 1968) DEFINICIJA američka novinarka i književnica, sa simpatijama pisala o američkoj srednjoj klasi (Ploveće kazalište) …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Edna Ferber — noun United States novelist; author of several popular novels (1887 1968) • Syn: ↑Ferber • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * Edna Ferber [Edna Ferber …   Useful english dictionary

  • Edna — /ed neuh/, n. a female given name: from a Hebrew word meaning rejuvenation, rebirth. * * * (as used in expressions) Ferber Edna Millay Edna St. Vincent Proulx Edna Annie * * * …   Universalium

  • Edna — (as used in expressions) Ferber, Edna Millay, Edna St. Vincent Proulx, (Edna) Annie …   Enciclopedia Universal