My Brilliant Friends is a group biography of three women’s friendships forged in second-wave feminism. Poignant and politically charged, the book is a captivating personal account of the complexities of women’s bonds.
Nancy K. Miller describes her friendships with three well-known scholars and literary critics: Carolyn Heilbrun, Diane Middlebrook, and Naomi Schor. Their relationships were simultaneously intimate and professional, emotional and intellectual, animated by the ferment of the women’s movement. Friendships like these sustained the generation of women whose entrance into male-dominated professions is still reshaping American society. The stories of their intertwined lives and books embody feminism’s belief in the political importance of personal experience. Reflecting on aging and loss, ambition and rivalry, competition and collaboration, Miller shows why and how friendship’s ties matter in the worlds of work and love. Inspired in part by the portraits of the intensely enmeshed lives in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, My Brilliant Friends provides a passionate and timely vision of friendship between women.
About the Author
Nancy K. Miller teaches life writing and cultural criticism at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts (1991) and But Enough About Me: Why We Read Other People’s Lives (Columbia, 2002), as well as the memoir Breathless: An American Girl in Paris (2013).
Table of Contents
Prelude: The Art of Losing
1. Carolyn Heilbrun
2. Naomi Schor
3. Diane Middlebrook
Elegy : Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy
Dialogue in a Garden: Patricia Yaeger
Notes on Loss