Carolyn G.Heilbrun

Carolyn G. Heilbrun lived two rich and full lives, one as an esteemed scholar of modern British literature, the other as the popular mystery writer Amanda Cross. Heilbrun graduated Wellesley in 1947 and earned a PhD from Columbia in 1959, but despite prestigious fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the National Endowment of the Arts, Columbia permitted her to teach only in their extension school, due to her gender. While she was given an endowed chair in 1986, she finally retired in 1993 to protest the university’s continued gender discrimination. Outside the university, however, she was greatly respected for her study of gender: her 1973 book Towards a Recognition of Androgyny, Reinventing Womanhood in 1979, as well as Writing a Woman’s Life in 1988, which looked at examples of women writers from George Sand to Dorothy Sayers. She served as president of the Modern Language Association in 1984. Alongside her academic career, as Amanda Cross, she wrote fourteen mystery novels that hinged on the tensions created by feminism, academic infighting, and other issues close to her heart. Through her critical and fictional writing, she explored shifting expectations of women and the ways women might choose to define themselves.

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Date of Birth

East Orange, NJ
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Carolyn G. Heilbrun." (Viewed on August 21, 2019) <>.


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