1. Over at New York Magazine, there’s an interesting piece by Boris Kachka on novelist Claire Messud and her husband, the New Yorker's fiction critic, James Wood. The subhed dubs them “the First Couple of American Fiction” which contrasts — perhaps — with how at least Messud sees herself:


I ask if she thinks Wood’s controversial criticism has affected her career. “I certainly have felt at various moments that the reluctance of a certain world to take me seriously as a writer is not unlike the fact that only one of us can actually work in the house at any given time. That there isn’t enough air.”




But if a best-selling highbrow author isn’t part of the Establishment, who is?




She shoots me a wide-eyed look. “I’m never asked to do anything. I’m asked to write things, but … but … things like the PEN festival, the New Yorker festival, the Brooklyn festival—I’m not on anybody’s mind, that’s for sure … I’ve never had a mentor. There’s never been anyone who’s pushed for me in my entire life. Never.” She catches herself, pauses. “Maybe nobody has it, is the truth. Maybe everybody is alone.”

Messud later writes Kachka to correct a few of these statements — “she has been invited to the PEN festival” — but the piece, and this passage in particular, certainly makes one think about how we think about ourselves.
Messud has a new book out called The Woman Upstairs. The title is a reference to the classic feminist text The Madwoman in the Attic,by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar which Maureen Corrigan recently paid tribute to here.

We don’t have an exact date yet, but Messud is scheduled for the show sometime soon.

    Over at New York Magazine, there’s an interesting piece by Boris Kachka on novelist Claire Messud and her husband, the New Yorker's fiction critic, James Wood. The subhed dubs them “the First Couple of American Fiction” which contrasts — perhaps — with how at least Messud sees herself:

    I ask if she thinks Wood’s controversial criticism has affected her career. “I certainly have felt at various moments that the reluctance of a certain world to take me seriously as a writer is not unlike the fact that only one of us can actually work in the house at any given time. That there isn’t enough air.”

    But if a best-selling highbrow author isn’t part of the Establishment, who is?

    She shoots me a wide-eyed look. “I’m never asked to do anything. I’m asked to write things, but … but … things like the PEN festival, the New Yorker festival, the Brooklyn festival—I’m not on anybody’s mind, that’s for sure … I’ve never had a mentor. There’s never been anyone who’s pushed for me in my entire life. Never.” She catches herself, pauses. “Maybe nobody has it, is the truth. Maybe everybody is alone.”

    Messud later writes Kachka to correct a few of these statements — “she has been invited to the PEN festival” — but the piece, and this passage in particular, certainly makes one think about how we think about ourselves.

    Messud has a new book out called The Woman Upstairs. The title is a reference to the classic feminist text The Madwoman in the Attic,by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar which Maureen Corrigan recently paid tribute to here.

    We don’t have an exact date yet, but Messud is scheduled for the show sometime soon.

  2. claire+messud

    James Woods

    New York Magazine

    Boris Kachka

    Coming up on Fresh Air

    Maureen Corrigan

    The Madwoman in the Attic

  1. Maureen Corrigan on how Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar reinterpreted the literary canon when they wrote The Madwoman in the Attic: 


The undercover female tradition that Gilbert and Gubar were talking about was one in which writers as disparate as Austen, Emily Dickinson, the Brontes, Louisa May Alcott, and George Eliot used similar themes and images to dramatize the social limitations they themselves suffered as women. Once you started looking for metaphors of confinement, Gilbert and Gubar demonstrated, you saw that novels like Frankenstein, Northanger Abbey and Middlemarch were jam-packed with images of locked rooms and closets, dungeons and enclosures, as well as overbearing patriarch-jailors.


Image of Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar via The Washington Post View in High-Res

    Maureen Corrigan on how Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar reinterpreted the literary canon when they wrote The Madwoman in the Attic:

    The undercover female tradition that Gilbert and Gubar were talking about was one in which writers as disparate as Austen, Emily Dickinson, the Brontes, Louisa May Alcott, and George Eliot used similar themes and images to dramatize the social limitations they themselves suffered as women. Once you started looking for metaphors of confinement, Gilbert and Gubar demonstrated, you saw that novels like Frankenstein, Northanger Abbey and Middlemarch were jam-packed with images of locked rooms and closets, dungeons and enclosures, as well as overbearing patriarch-jailors.

    Image of Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar via The Washington Post

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Maureen Corrigan

    The Madwoman in the Attic

    Sandra Gilbert

    Susan Gubar

    The Washington Post

  1. Maureen Corrigan on Sandra Gilbert, Susan Gubar and the seminal feminist book The Madwoman in the Attic:




The western canon was not liberated overnight, but Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar certainly stuck a wedge firmly into the frat house door when they wrote The Madwoman in the Attic. The two were, then, young professors at Indiana University and had co-taught a course in women’s literature when they stumbled onto, what they called in their introduction, a “distinctively female literary tradition … which no one had yet defined in its entirety.” If the grandness of that claim sounds akin to something Harold Carter might have said when he discovered King Tut’s tomb, well, the buried literary treasure Gilbert and Gubar unearthed was, to many of us readers back then, every bit as dazzling.



View in High-Res

    Maureen Corrigan on Sandra Gilbert, Susan Gubar and the seminal feminist book The Madwoman in the Attic:

    The western canon was not liberated overnight, but Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar certainly stuck a wedge firmly into the frat house door when they wrote The Madwoman in the Attic. The two were, then, young professors at Indiana University and had co-taught a course in women’s literature when they stumbled onto, what they called in their introduction, a “distinctively female literary tradition … which no one had yet defined in its entirety.” If the grandness of that claim sounds akin to something Harold Carter might have said when he discovered King Tut’s tomb, well, the buried literary treasure Gilbert and Gubar unearthed was, to many of us readers back then, every bit as dazzling.

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Maureen Corrigan

    The Madwoman in the Attic

    Susan Gubar

    Sandra Gilbert