"These essays articulate the desire by many women in academe to break free of the adversarial mode of teaching literary criticism. Topics include issues of reader response, diversity and gender."—Texas Journal
Interweaving the personal, private voice with scholarly, public intent, Nelson and the other contributors argue for a more interactive and cooperative approach to the teaching, reading, critiquing, and writing of literature.
These essays are a direct result of the desire by many women within the academic community to break free of what has been called the "masculine" or "adversary" mode of literary criticism.
Private Voices, Public Lives is of critical importance to readers, teachers, reviewers, and critics. The essays incorporate ideas on current issues of autobiography, memoir, women's voice, reader response, diversity, life writing, and gender.
"Not for women only should appear on the cover. Possibly some men would have the courage to read the women’s view of literature and the effect it had on their lives . . . You may not like some of the lessons, but you’ll enjoy the readings."—The Oakland Press
"A major achievement of the book is the multiple ways in which it deconstructs another binary minefield, the public/private chasm that women still feel pressured to negotiate."—Western American Literature
"These essays offer an entirely new method of teaching literature—a method that invites instructor and student to explore through identification."—Elizabeth Tilley, University College, Galway, Ireland
Part I: The Work/Love Paradigm, includes essays on Katherine Anne Porter, Willa Cather, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and others.
Part II: The Text as Mirror, includes essays on Adrienne Rich, Amy Tan, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Kathleen Norris and others.
Part III: Teaching and Writing the Self includes essays on Dr. Benjamin Spock, Virginia Woolf, Hart Crane, and others.