The Fifth Wheel (Paperback)
Olive Higgins Prouty (1882-1974) was an American novelist, best known for her pioneering consideration of psychotherapy in Now, Voyager and her feminist melodrama Stella Dallas (1922). The latter was used as the basis for two successful films - the 1937 version, which starred Barbara Stanwyck, was nominated for two Academy Awards - and a radio serial which was broadcast daily for 18 years, despite Prouty's legal efforts. Prouty is also known for her philanthropic works, and for her resulting association with Sylvia Plath, whom she encountered as a result of endowing a Smith College scholarship for "promising young writers." She supported Plath financially in the wake of Plath's unsuccessful 1953 suicide attempt; subsequently, Plath used Prouty as the basis of the character of "Philomena Guinea" in her 1963 novel, The Bell Jar. In 1961, Prouty wrote her memoirs but, as her public profile had diminished, could not find a publisher; she had them printed at her own expense. She also wrote The Fifth Wheel (1915).