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Adapting Stella Dallas:Class Boundaries, Consumerism, and Hierarchies of Taste Jennifer Parchesky In her 1961 autobiography, Olive Higgins Prouty reflected that "[t]he feature of most interest about Stella Dallas is, I think, the number of its reincarnations." First serialized for the nearly two million readers of the American Magazine in 1922 and published in book form in 1923, Prouty's poignant tale of class hierarchy and maternal sacrifice went on to become a 1924 stage play, a 1925 silent film, an Oscar-nominated 1937 film starring Barbara Stan-wyck, and a long-running radio soap opera. Indeed, Stella outlived her creator, reappearing in a third film starring Bette Midler in 1990. Yet to Prouty these adaptations, "filled with melodrama and sentimentality," were something of an embarrassment: "How much better if Stella had never emerged from the covers of a novel. Certainly the adaptation of Stella to the stage and screen and finally the radio did not help me to acquire the kind of reputation I desired" (Pencil Shavings 156). It is doubtful, however, that avoiding the mass media would have spared Prouty from being, like so many popular and critically acclaimed women novelists of the 1920s and 1930s, relegated to the dustbins of history by a masculinist, modernist literary establishment.1 Arguably, Stella and her creator have been remembered only because of these adaptations: while the novel went out of print for nearly four decades, the 1937 film remained in circulation and was elevated to canonical status by feminist scholars in the 1980s as an exemplary "woman's film," a powerful alternative to Hollywood's "male gaze." Only since its 1990 reprinting as part of a "literary cinema classics" series, illustrated with stills from the film, has Prouty's novel gained a modicum of scholarly attention.2 2b1af7f3a8