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Last Updated: Friday, 5 April, 2002, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Elaine Showalter
Elaine Showalter
Currently Professor Emeritus of English at Princeton University, writer and critic Elaine Showalter is one of the pioneers of feminist literary criticism.

Raised in the suburbs of Boston, she claims she "never met a feminist when I was growing up, never even met a 'career girl.' " This did not hinder her from initiating one of the first women's studies programmes in the US, at Rutgers University.

In 1977 she broke new ground with A Literature of their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontė to Lessing which questioned Virgina Woolf's status as feminist heroine.

Showalter is also notorious for her examination of British psychiatry's mistreatment of women in The Female Malady (1985) and Hystories (1998).

Her latest book Inventing Herself, is a collection of short biographies of feminist icons from Mary Wollstonecraft to Princess Diana.

She divides her time between Washington D.C. and London.


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