This chapter's title comes from Fannie Hurst's 1942 Lonely Parade, in which one character announces to the heroine: “Sex isn't everything.” Her aunt counters with her own declamation about the truth of sexuality: “Perhaps not. But try living a life in a world that has everything but sex.” This is the question that animates almost all of Hurst's novels over four decades. In a culture fixated on codifying sexuality, Hurst poses alternatives to the possibility that sex was becoming “everything,” thus making her career by challenging the centrality of sex. More than any other writer of the 1920s, 1930s, and even 1940s, she offered an amazing range of popular fictions devoted to the same topic: negotiating the demands of sex expression within liberal contract ideology.
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