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Using the Collection
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Series I: Business and Promotional Records, 1957-2008
Series II: Writings, 1957-2009
At a Glance
Material is arranged into four series.
The Marilyn French Papers contain a nearly complete record of French's literary life and production. Along with manuscripts and research notes for her books, the collection is particularly strong in documenting the business end of literary production, including contracts and significant files related to the publicizing and promotion of her work, including speaking tours, lectures, and travel. The collection also contains a small number of unpublished or not-fully-realized manuscripts and poems, including an unpublished memoir and detailed research files for an unwritten novel.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Marilyn French Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed ceh 2012.
Finding aid written ceh 03/28/2013.
2013-03-29 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Marilyn French was born in New York City in 1929. She married the attorney Robert M. French, Jr. in 1950; the couple divorced in 1967.
She received her B.A. in English from Hofstra University in 1951, and later returned to Hofstra for her M.A. degree in the Humanities, which she was awarded in 1964. The couple had two children, and Robert. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Harvard University in 1972. Her dissertation on James Joyce was published by Harvard University Press in 1976 with the title The Book as World: James Joyce's Ulysses, and constitutes her first major work of literary criticism.
Upon completion of her PhD, French began teaching at the College of the Holy Cross, where she remained until 1976 when she took a one year teaching fellowship at Harvard University, after which she left the academy to focus on her career as a writer.
Though French had an impressive academic career, she is best known as a novelist and a feminist critic. Her feminist novel The Women's Room was published in 1977 and her second novel, The Bleeding Heart followed in 1980.
In addition to her fiction she was a feminist critic and her works of feminist criticism, Beyond Power: On Women, Men, and Morals and The War Against Women established her as a leading voice in radical feminist intellectual discourse.
French was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1992; she documented her experience as a cancer patient in the memoir My Season in Hell.
French died of heart failure in 2009. She was 79.