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Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

Paternalism's Daughter
Deborah A. Symonds

BUY Cloth · 360 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813945132 · $39.50 · Jun 2021
BUY Ebook · 360 pp. · ISBN 9780813945149 · $29.00 · Jun 2021

A celebrated historian and women’s studies scholar, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese roiled both disciplines with her transition from Marxist-inclined feminist to conservative public intellectual. In the first major biography of this singular and controversial scholar, Deborah Symonds explores Fox-Genovese’s enormous personal archive and traces Fox-Genovese’s life from a brilliant girl in the World War II era struggling with demanding parents and anorexia to a woman intellectual in the later twentieth century and into the new millennium, providing an illuminating and moving psychological portrait.

Never settled, Fox-Genovese was, by turns, a French historian, Marxist feminist, literary critic, southern historian, Red Tory, public intellectual, and conservative Catholic—but still, in her eyes, a feminist. This biography sheds new light on its subject’s dynamic and intellectually productive marriage to leftist historian Eugene D. Genovese. In her provocative politics, which confront us still with the complexities of left and right, and her constant search for her place in the world, Fox-Genovese’s story resonates more strongly than ever.


Beautifully and carefully traces the evolution of one of America's most brilliant thinkers. Symond's masterful writing brings the real Elizabeth Fox-Genovese to life.

Louis Ferleger, Boston University · A New Mandate: Democratic Choices for a Prosperous Economy

The academization of the study of women and gender opened intellectual debates, unsettled administrative routines, and contributed to emotionally charged public controversies in which Fox-Genovese was a central figure. Deborah Symonds captures many of them in this judicious, provocative account.

Julie Saville, University of Chicago, author of The Work of Reconstruction: From Slave to Wage Laborer in South Carolina, 1860–1870

This smart study offers sophisticated and insightful analyses of Fox-Genovese’s writings, relationships, motivations, intellectual development, and psychological evolution.

Peter A. Coclanis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill · Plantation Kingdom: The American South and Its Global Commodities

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