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Carolyn G. Heilbrun

Feminist in a Tenured Position
Susan Kress

BUY Cloth · 262 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813917511 · $41.50 · Oct 1997
BUY Paper · 262 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813925363 · $25.00 · Feb 2006

Carolyn G. Heilbrun is renowned as a provocative feminist critic of the culture and (as Amanda Cross) a writer of witty detective novels. In Carolyn G. Heilbrun: Feminist in a Tenured Position, Susan Kress provides a compelling intellectual biography, tracing the evolution of Heilbrun’s thought and career in the context of the major debates and transformations of the contemporary women’s movement. Kress tells the story of a woman determined to expand the boundaries of female selfhood, weighs the risks of the life Heilbrun staked out for herself, and evaluates her pioneering contributions to the ongoing feminist conversation.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Carolyn Heilbrun, her colleagues, and her friends, Kress illuminates her subject’s various public identities: as Columbia student and professor struggling against the influence of Lionel Trilling, as author of such widely read books as Writing a Woman’s Life and Death in a Tenured Position, as president of the Modern Language Association, as biographer of Gloria Steinem, and as one of the most controversial and influential of late-twentieth-century feminists.

The new epilogue, written especially for this paperback edition, focuses on the last phase of Carolyn Heilbrun’s intellectual journey. Uncovering clues buried in Heilbrun’s work, Kress offers startling insights into Heilbrun’s suicide, revealing an even more complex, more poignant portrait of Carolyn Heilbrun.


"A fascinating biography, Carolyn G. Heilbrun: Feminist in a Tenured Position now includes a new epilogue that probes the painful mystery of Heilbrun's 2003 suicide. In her moving final chapter, Kress, whose sense of personal loss is palpable through these pages, balances a life story of extraordinary accomplishment with the troubling ending Heilbrun chose to give it. [This book] is a deeply satisfying account of a woman writer whose pioneering words and example inspired many women to change their lives.

Nancy K. MillerThe Graduate CenterCity University of New Yorkand, author of But Enough about Me: Why We Read Other People’s Lives

"To her insightful meditation on the growth of a feminist’s mind, Susan Kress has added a brilliant epilogue that reveals surprising and moving facets of Carolyn Heilbrun’s life and work. A haunting posthumous tribute.

Susan GubarIndiana Universityis the, author of the forthcoming Rooms of Our Own

About the Author(s): 

Susan Kress is Professor of English at Skidmore College and the author of numerous essays on pedagogy and women writers.

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