Renowned feminist scholars Susan Gubar and Sandra Gilbert (The Madwoman in the Attic) return with a brilliant new work of literary criticism, Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination. In Still Mad, they trace the history of the contemporary women’s movement as told through the lives of the literary women who helped shape it. Citing works by Sylvia Plath, Betty Friedan, and Joan Didion, Still Mad shows how the legacies of these authors extend into the present. Gilbert and Gubar discussed the new book and the importance of reading these authors today in a special event in the On Reading series moderated by author and editor Jamia Wilson (Young, Gifted, and Black).
Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination
By Sandra Gilbert & Susan Gubar
Published by W. W. Norton
A brilliant, sweeping history of the contemporary women’s movement told through the lives and works of the literary women who shaped it.
Forty years after their first groundbreaking work of feminist literary theory, The Madwoman in the Attic, award-winning collaborators Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar map the literary history of feminism’s second wave.
From its stirrings in the midcentury—when Sylvia Plath, Betty Friedan, and Joan Didion found their voices and Diane di Prima, Lorraine Hansberry, and Audre Lorde discovered community in rebellion—to a resurgence in the new millennium in the writings of Alison Bechdel, Claudia Rankine, and N. K. Jemisin, Gilbert and Gubar trace the evolution of feminist literature. They offer lucid, compassionate, and piercing readings of major works by these writers and others, including Adrienne Rich, Ursula K. Le Guin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Susan Sontag, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Toni Morrison. Activists and theorists like Nina Simone, Gloria Steinem, Andrea Dworkin, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Judith Butler also populate these pages as Gilbert and Gubar examine the overlapping terrain of literature and politics in a comprehensive portrait of an expanding movement.
As Gilbert and Gubar chart feminist gains—including creative new forms of protests and changing attitudes toward gender and sexuality—they show how the legacies of second wave feminists, and the misogynistic culture they fought, extend to the present. In doing so, they celebrate the diversity and urgency of women who have turned passionate rage into powerful writing.
Sandra M. Gilbert
Sandra M. Gilbert
Sandra M. Gilbert is a distinguished literary critic, poet, and professor emerita at the University of California, Davis. The author, most recently, of Judgment Day: Poems, she lives in Berkeley, California.
Photo Credit: Peter Basmajian
Susan Gubar is an acclaimed memoirist, literary critic, and professor emerita at Indiana University. The author, most recently, of Late-Life Love: A Memoir, she lives in Bloomington, Indiana. Gubar is the co-author, with Sandra M. Gilbert, of The Madwoman in the Attic, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and co-editor of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, among other volumes. In 2012, they were awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle.
Photo Credit: Eli Setiya
Jamia is a feminist activist, writer, and speaker. She joined Random House as vice president and executive editor in 2021. As the former director of the Feminist Press at the City University of New York and the former VP of programs at the Women’s Media Center, Jamia has been a leading voice on women’s rights issues for over a decade. Her work has appeared in numerous outlets, including the New York Times, the Today Show, CNN, Elle, BBC, Rookie, Refinery 29, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and the Washington Post. She is the author of This Book Is Feminist, Young, Gifted, and Black, the introduction and oral history in Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World, Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live Your Best Life, Big Ideas for Young Thinkers, ABCs of AOC, and the co-author of Roadmap for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Advocacy, and Activism for All. Jamia is passionate about mission-driven organizations and serves on the Omega Institute, Feminist.com, and Center for Reproductive Rights boards and the St. Timothy’s School Advisory Council.