The Seasons Of A Woman's Life

Overview

"A HIGHLY NUANCED PORTRAIT, in every shade of gray, of individual women negotiating the transitions of what Levinson calls early adulthood *ages 18 to 45."

*The New York Times Book Review

Nearly twenty years ago, esteemed Yale psychologist Daniel J. Levinson wrote the groundbreaking classic, The Seasons of a Man's Life, which became the stimulus for a revolution in thinking about life passages, helping thousands of men make sense of their own lives. Now it is womens' turn. Based on exhaustive interviews with a ...

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The Seasons of a Woman's Life

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Overview

"A HIGHLY NUANCED PORTRAIT, in every shade of gray, of individual women negotiating the transitions of what Levinson calls early adulthood *ages 18 to 45."

*The New York Times Book Review

Nearly twenty years ago, esteemed Yale psychologist Daniel J. Levinson wrote the groundbreaking classic, The Seasons of a Man's Life, which became the stimulus for a revolution in thinking about life passages, helping thousands of men make sense of their own lives. Now it is womens' turn. Based on exhaustive interviews with a diverse group of forty-five women, The Seasons of a Woman's Life completes and substantiates Levinson's thesis: that all human beings go right on developing throughout their lives in a pattern of amazing inevitability.

Firmly grounded in original scientific research, The Seasons of a Woman's Life is unusual in being not only vividly readable but a rich source of insights and consolation. It speaks with uncanny directness to the dreams, emotional crises, inexplicable feelings, social conflicts, and psychological upheavals that mark each woman's life course. Every woman will recognize *and find comfort in recognizing *the deep shape of her own life in the pattern it outlines, from Early Adult Transition (ages 17 to 22) to the Mid-life Transition (ages 40 to 45) and beyond. Alive with the voices of real women, perceptive and sympathetic, this book is destined *like its predecessor *to become a classic.

"AFFIRMING AND ILLUMINATING . . . PSYCHOLOGICALLY RICH."

*San Jose Mercury News

"HELPFUL AND ENLIGHTENING."

*Booklist

"GROUNDBREAKING."

*Feminist Bookstore News

Firmly grounded in scientific research, this book reveals that women follow a predictable developmental course through adulthood. Work and marriage relationships, personal crisis, emotional states, and behavior can all be related to this grand pattern. But in the case of women, the situation is made far more complicated by gender biases.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his popular Seasons of a Man's Life (1978), Yale psychology professor Levinson (who died in 1994) postulated that adult men undergo a series of distinct developmental phases separated by calm periods. This sequel, a collaboration with his wife, focuses on women's psychosocial growth from the late teens to middle age (around age 45). It builds on interviews conducted in the early 1980s with 45 subjects-15 New Haven-area homemakers, 15 N.Y.C. corporate-financial career women and 15 academics in the New York-Boston corridor. Not surprisingly, the homemakers found traditional patterns difficult to sustain and often paid a big price in restrictions on self-development; career women experienced considerable stress and difficulty in breaking down barriers in formerly ``male'' occupations and in pushing for a more equitable division of housework. In contrast to the earlier book, this sequel's plodding, academic style and narrower focus may deter some readers, yet the outspoken oral testimonies convey a sense of women negotiating the challenges of career, love, marriage and family. 30,000 first printing. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Levinson's earlier work, The Seasons of a Man's Life (LJ 4/1/78), is a classic of adult development studies. It also has had a profound popular impact as the basis for Gail Sheehy's Passages (LJ 5/15/76), a reworking of Levinson's research. The current book is something of a disappointment. The main thesis-that the 45 women interviewed, like the men in the earlier book, went through alternating periods of tumultuous "structure building" followed by relatively stable "maintenance" periods-is not well supported by the extensive quotations from the women themselves. Instead, they seem to be constantly in the process of defining themselves and their needs and attempting to carve out space for self-expression in lives filled with heavy demands from work and family life. This is not as important a book as The Seasons of a Man's Life but much more thoughtful than Passages. (Sheehy's latest, New Passages, LJ 8/95, concerns the years beyond 50, which Levinson does not cover.) This title, flawed as it is, is recommended for most academic and public libraries since it has few competitors in an area of interest to many patrons.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345311740
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 986,846
  • Product dimensions: 5.57 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Study of Women's Lives 3
2 The Human Life Cycle: Eras and Developmental Periods 13
3 The Significance of Gender in Women's Lives 38
4 Adolescent Life Structure: Homemakers 59
5 Early Adult Transition: Homemakers 69
6 Entry Life Structure for Early Adulthood: Homemakers 97
7 Age 30 Transition: Homemakers 117
8 Culminating Life Structure for Early Adulthood: Homemakers 142
9 Mid-life Transition: Homemakers 172
10 Adolescent Life Structure: Career Women 203
11 Early Adult Transition: Career Women 227
12 Entry Life Structure for Early Adulthood: Career Women 264
13 Age 30 Transition: Career Women 296
14 Culminating Life Structure for Early Adulthood: Career Women 334
15 Mid-life Transition: Career Women 369
16 Concluding Thoughts: Adult Development, Gender, and Historical Change 413
Selected Bibliography 423
Index 427
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