French, Marilyn, 1929-2009

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BIOGHIST REQUIRED Marilyn French was born in New York City in 1929. She married the attorney Robert M. French, Jr. in 1950; the couple divorced in 1967.

She received her B.A. in English from Hofstra University in 1951, and later returned to Hofstra for her M.A. degree in the Humanities, which she was awarded in 1964. The couple had two children, and Robert. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Harvard University in 1972. Her dissertation on James Joyce was published by Harvard University Press in 1976 with the title The Book as World: James Joyce’s Ulysses, and constitutes her first major work of literary criticism.

Upon completion of her PhD, French began teaching at the College of the Holy Cross, where she remained until 1976 when she took a one year teaching fellowship at Harvard University, after which she left the academy to focus on her career as a writer.

Though French had an impressive academic career, she is best known as a novelist and a feminist critic. Her feminist novel The Women’s Room was published in 1977 and her second novel, The Bleeding Heart followed in 1980.

In addition to her fiction she was a feminist critic and her works of feminist criticism, Beyond Power: On Women, Men, and Morals and The War Against Women established her as a leading voice in radical feminist intellectual discourse.

French was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1992; she documented her experience as a cancer patient in the memoir My Season in Hell.

French died of heart failure in 2009. She was 79.

From the guide to the Marilyn French papers, 1957-2009, [Bulk Dates: 1978-2008], (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Boston N.O.W. Records, 1967-1990 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Focus on Women. Videotapes, 1983-1993 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Focus on Women. [Show nos. 1-438]. [videorecording] / Produced in the studios of Cox Cable New York. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf French, Marilyn, 1929-2009. Discussion of The war against women [sound recording] / Marilyn French. Sarah Lawrence College, Esther Raushenbush Library
referencedIn Brownmiller, Susan. Papers, 1935-2000 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Records, 1967-1990 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Radcliffe College Archives sound recordings collection, 1951-1985 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Marilyn French papers, 1957-2009, [Bulk Dates: 1978-2008] Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Hull, William D., 1918-1984. Papers, 1906-1984. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Papers, 1935-2000 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Boston N.O.W. corporateBody
associatedWith Brownmiller, Susan. person
associatedWith Hull, William D., 1918-1984. person
associatedWith Sarah Lawrence College. corporateBody
associatedWith Susan Brownmiller person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Publishers and Publishing
Women--Social conditions


Birth 1929-11-21

Death 2009-05-02





Ark ID: w6fb76h5

SNAC ID: 19352408