Before the Hollywood novel emerged as a well-established literary genre in the early 1920s, various American authors were writing novels about moviemaking in both serial and book form. Not unlike the preclassical Hollywood movies of the 1910s, these “proto-Hollywood novels” were more than simple antecedents. Many were set in New York City and took their cues from novels about the theater world. Others were set in the Far West, including California, but before Hollywood had assumed its mythic identity. Of particular interest: most of these novels were feminist in their rhetoric and narratives. Some engaged issues of sexual harassment that would be picked up a century later by the #MeToo movement. This article focuses on the works of two male writers associated with the radical magazine The Masses—Robert Carlton Brown and James Oppenheim, and two women who were involved in screenwriting on the West Coast—B. M. Bower and Margaret Turnbull.

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