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.
Nancy Miller is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY and co-editor of the Gender and Culture series. Her books include the landmark The Poetics of Gender (ed., Columbia UP, 1987), Subject to Change: Reading Feminist Writing (Columbia University Press, 1989), Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and Other Autobiographical Acts (Routledge, 1991), Bequests and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent’s Death (Oxford UP, 1996), But Enough About Me:Why We Read Other People’s Lives (Columbia UP, 2002), Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory (co-editor, Columbia UP, 2011), and others.