(1933—2004) American writer and critic
American cultural critic, essayist, and novelist. Born in New York, she studied in America, at Oxford, and at the Sorbonne. Settling in New York as a teacher and an essayist for Partisan Review and other journals, she wrote two experimental novels, The Benefactor (1963) and Death Kit (1967), and collected her essays in two volumes, Against Interpretation (1966) and Styles of Radical Will (1969), in which she surveys a range of topics, from pornographic writing to avant‐garde music. The title essay of the first volume protests against the hunt for ‘meanings’ in art, calling for a sensuous appreciation of its surfaces, and foreshadows many of the emphases of postmodernism. While undergoing treatment for cancer in the 1970s, she wrote two provocative essays, On Photography (1977) and Illness as Metaphor (1978), and collected her short stories as I, Etcetera (1978). Later works include a historical romance about Nelson and the Hamiltons, The Volcano Lover (1992).