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Elaine Showalter
Elaine Showalter


NYS Writers Institute, March 26, 2009
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Campus Center 375
8:00 p.m. Reading | Campus Center 375

Elaine Showalter,
major scholar of British and American literature, regular commentator on cultural issues for BBC broadcasting, and former television critic for “People” magazine, will read from her landmark new work on American women writers from the 17th through 21st centuries on Thursday, March 26, 2009 in Campus Center 375 on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. she will present an informal seminar in the same location. The events are free and open to the public.


Elaine Showalter,
critic, feminist, and leading scholar of women’s literature, is celebrated for her witty analysis of English and American literary and popular culture. A Professor Emerita at Princeton University where she taught for two decades, and a past president of the Modern Language Association (MLA), Showalter is acknowledged to be a “founding mother” of the practice of feminist literary criticism. An entertaining and versatile thinker who discovers profundity in everyday matters and the popular media, Showalter is a regular commentator on BBC radio and television, and former television critic for “People” magazine.

Elaine Showalter is the author most recently of “A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx” (2009). Hailed as a landmark in its field, the book represents the first comprehensive history of American women writers from the 17th to 21st centuries.

In a starred review, “Publishers Weekly” said the book contributes “to feminist theory without itself reading like theory. Diverse beyond easy description…. Showalter’s Baedeker showcases the rise and fall of styles and genres…. Several hundred authors… sing out in a monumental choral orchestrated by Showalter.” In advance praise, Joyce Carol Oates called it, “a work of astonishing vision, breadth, intelligence, and audacity…. one that is sure to be required reading for all who have an interest in American literary history.”

Showalter’s earlier works include “Faculty Towers: The Academic Novel and Its Discontents” (2005), “Inventing Herself: Claiming a Feminist Intellectual Heritage” (2001); “Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture” (1997); Sister’s Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women’s Writing” (1991); “Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin-de-Siècle” (1990), “The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture, 1830-1980” (1985); “Toward a Feminist Poetics” (1979); and the groundbreaking, “A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing” (1977), widely regarded as one of the “foundation texts” of feminist literary criticism.

In 2007, Showalter served as chair of the judges of the Man Booker Prize, the most prestigious literary award of the British Commonwealth. The prize was bestowed that year on “The Gathering” by Anne Enright, an Irish novelist who visited the New York State Writers Institute on October 2, 2008.

Showalter has also served as a judge for the National Book Award in the United States, and the Orange Prize in the United Kingdom. She specialized in Victorian and Fin-de-Siècle literature and Princeton University, where she is currently Avalon Foundation Professor Emerita. Born in Massachusetts, she divides her time between London and New York.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.

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