Monday, May 4, 2009

R.I.P. Marilyn French

Marilyn French, Novelist and Champion of Feminism, Dies at 79:
Her first and best-known novel, “The Women’s Room,” released in 1977, traces a submissive housewife’s journey of self-discovery following her divorce in the 1950s, describing the lives of Mira Ward and her friends in graduate school at Harvard as they grow into independent women. The book was partly informed by her own experience of leaving an unhappy marriage and helping her daughter deal with the aftermath of being raped. Women all over the world seized on the book, which sold more than 20 million copies and was translated into 20 languages.

Gloria Steinem, a close friend, compared the impact of the book on the discussion surrounding women’s rights to the one that Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” had had on racial equality 25 years earlier.


M.C.T. said...

Hello, Aviva! Your dad told me about Fourth Wave and I've been reading for a few months. Thank you for commemorating French; I'm sorry to hear of her passing. I read The Women's Room in my late adolescence and I've never forgotten it. French made accessible and quite vivid for me the issues underlying the feminist movement of the time, and just as important, showed it as part of the universal struggle to self-actualize. Her book was an important part of my cultural education as an American woman.

Aviva DV said...

Unfortunately, I didn't know much about her work besides a few excerpts here and there--The Women's Room is something I desperately need to return to and read in full one day...