Good Girl, Bad Girl

Elaine Showalter

  • Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment by Jane Gallop
    Duke, 104 pp, £28.50, June 1997, ISBN 0 8223 1918 7
  • A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned by Jane Tompkins
    Addison-Wesley, 256 pp, $22.00, January 1997, ISBN 0 201 91212 0
  • Bequest and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent’s Death by Nancy Miller
    Oxford, 208 pp, £19.50, February 1997, ISBN 0 19 509130 2

Call it the Zeitgeist, call it the return of the repressed, but personal memoir, intellectual autobiography, or the mixture of literary and confessional writing defined by Nancy Miller as ‘narrative criticism’ is changing the tradition of feminist academic writing. In books such as Patricia Williams’s Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1991), Alice Kaplan’s French Lessons: A Memoir (1993) and Marianne Hirsch’s Family Frames (1997), a generation of American feminist university teachers use their own experience to shed light on literary, linguistic, artistic, professional, pedagogic and academic issues; and use these categories to shed light on their own experience.

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