Private Voices, Public Lives
“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
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
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
“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,
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.