Selected Books

Featured Books

breathlessBookCover

Breathless: An American Girl in Paris

Seal, 2013

In the early 1960s, most middle-class American women in their twenties were preparing for marriage, children, and life in the suburbs….

Description, reviews, news & events may be found on the Breathless book page

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What They Saved by Nancy K. Miller

What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past

University of Nebraska Press, 2011

After her father’s death, Nancy K. Miller discovered a minuscule family archive and followed the clues it offered across the country, and across an ocean. Searching for roots as a middle-aged orphan and an assimilated Jewish New Yorker, Miller learns that the hidden lives of her ancestors reveal as much about the present as they do about the past.

Winner of the 2012 Jewish Journal Book Prize

“… a rich and accomplished family chronicle, full of fascinating incidents and turbulent emotions. Above all, it is a searing work of self-exploration, artful and eloquent in the telling but heartbreaking in its candor.”

—Jonathan Kirsch, JewishJournal.com

“At its most brilliant, Miller’s book is a writer’s memoir – a book brimming with passion and intelligence – a book that makes the weary and often opaque process of writing about one’s family story appear more translucent.”

—Judy Bolton-Fasman, The Jerusalem Post

“[Miller] writes thoughtfully about her efforts to piece together a family’s story of dislocation, success, and broken links, and of how, in the process, Miller reconnected with Jewish history and traditions.”

—Publishers Weekly

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But Enough About Me by Nancy Miller

But Enough About Me:
Why We Read Other People’s Lives

Columbia University Press, 2002

In But Enough About Me, Nancy K. Miller tells the story of how a girl who grew up in the 1950s, and got lost in the 1960s, became a feminist critic in the 1970s. Miller interweaves pieces of her autobiography with memoirs of contemporaries in order to explore the unexpected ways that the stories of other people’s lives give meaning to our own.

“But Enough About Me is doubly graced: being both a brilliant comic memoir about coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s and a passionate defense of the autobiographer’s art.”

—Terry Castle, author of Boss Ladies, Watch Out:
Essays on Women, Sex, and Writing

“Miller offers reflections on aging (in and out of the academy), friendship and family—and how reading about them allows us to better construct our own life stories”

—Publishers Weekly

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Bequest and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent’s Death

Indiana University Press, 2000

Bequest and Betrayal is an innovative memoir that blends literary criticism and autobiographical passages as it illuminates an experience that is both universal and intensely private: the death of a parent. Combining Miller’s broad knowledge of literature, her wry sensibility, and engaging prose style, Bequest and Betrayal is a book of outstanding grace and complexity, highly readable and often very moving.

“Aspiring memoirists, literature students, and those simply interested in the story of a childless adult dealing with the death of her parents will find something worth thinking about in these pages.”

—Publishers Weekly

“…informed, generous, subtle and always stimulating”

—Alix Kates Shulman, The Women’s Review of Books

“[Bequest and Betrayal] counterpoints lyrical introspection about her own grief with critical insight into contemporary memoirs. In the process she produces astonishingly poignant revelations about what it means to live with a dying parent, how it feels to survive after a great loss.”

—Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, co-authors of The Madwoman in the Attic, No Man’s Land, and the Norton Anthology of Literature by Women.

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Getting Personal: Feminist Occasions and
Other Autobiographical Acts

Routledge, 1991

In Getting Personal, Nancy K. Miller reflects upon the ways in which incidents of identity and location shape the writing of academic argument and the living of an academic life. The focus on occasions, from the conference, to the seminar, to the professional colloquium, produces a unique autobiographical perspective on the mini-dramas of institutional politics.

“…an engaging reply to the anti-feminist backlash in the academy and the ongoing war over the place of critical theory”

—Publishers Weekly

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Picturing Atrocity

Picturing Atrocity: Photography in Crisis

With Geoffrey Batchen, Mick Gidley, and Jay Prosser

Reaktion Press, 2012

Covering the historical and geographical range of atrocity – from the massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee to the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the famine in China to apartheid in South Africa, from genocides in both Europe and Asia – the contributors to Picturing Atrocity respond to current concerns about disturbing images as they play across the fields such as human rights, conventional print journalism, art exhibitions, and the internet.

“This important new collection of essays by some of the most brilliant analysts of photography shows how deliberately horrifying pictures have shaped – and continue to shape – the ethics and politics of the modern era”

—Brian Wallis, Chief Curator, International Center of Photography, New York

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Rites of Return

Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the
Politics of Memory

With Marianne Hirsch

Columbia University Press, 2011

Twenty-four writers, historians, critics, anthropologists, sociologists, artists, legal scholars, and curators grapple with our contemporary ethical endeavor to redress enduring inequities and retrieve lost histories. Rites of Return examines new technologies of genetic and genealogical research, memoirs about lost family histories, the popularity of roots-seeking journeys, organized trauma tourism at sites of atrocity and new Museums of Conscience, and profound connections between social rites and political and legal rights of return.

“With its fascinating new perspectives, this book demonstrates the importance of memory studies for a better understanding of the future.”

—Françoise Lionnet, University of California, Los Angeles

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Extremities: Trauma, Testimony, and Community

With Jason Tougaw

University of Illinois Press, 2002

A collection of essays that grapples with the effects of historical crises; events that have shaped twentieth-century history and still haunt contemporary culture, including the Montreal Massacre, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the medical catastrophes of HIV/AIDS and breast cancer.

“If the Holocaust ‘supplies the paradigm’ of traumatic experience and incommensurable suffering in contemporary discourse, Extremities seeks to examine what has emerged from it, what the editors describe as the ‘set of terms and debates about the nature of trauma, testimony, witness, and community—that has affected other domains of meditation on the forms the representation of extreme human suffering seems to engender and require.'”

—Jennifer Travis, St. John’s University Humanities Review

“Extremities offers fresh perspectives on a subject of urgent public concern: the experience of trauma in our lives and the problems it poses for those who write and read it.”

—Paul John Eakin, author of How Our Lives
Become Stories: Making Selves

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Other Titles

The Poetics of Gender

Columbia University Press, 1987

The Poetics of Gender engages the central issues of feminist theory across a variety of cultural forms and from a broad spectrum of critical positions.

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Subject to Change: Reading Feminist Writing

Columbia University Press, 1989

In Subject to Change Miller demonstrates the textual effects of female authorship in the production, reception, and circulation of women’s writing.

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The Heroine’s Text: Readings in the
French and English Novel, 1722-1782

Columbia University Press, 1980

The Heroine’s Text focuses on the intersections of femininity and narrative structure in eight well-known French and English novels of the eighteenth century.

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French Dressing: Women, Men
and Ancien Régime Fiction

Routledge, 1995

French Dressing looks at the ancien régime’s scenarios of libertine seduction—unsafe sex and its consequences for women’s lives.

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Displacements: Women, Tradition, Literatures in French

With Joan DeJean

The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990

In Displacements: Women, Tradition, Literatures in French, noted scholars explore the politics of canon formation and show how ideologies of gender, art, and national identity collaborate to displace or eliminate women’s writing from the central literary tradition.

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Contre-Courants:
Les femmes s’écrivent à travers les siècles

With Mary Ann Caws, Elizabeth Houlding, and Cheryl Morgan

Prentice Hall, 1994

This anthology of 71 works by 46 women writers from the Middle Ages to the end of the twentieth century illustrates the breadth of French and Francophone women’s writing in a variety of genres.

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Lettres d’une Péruvienne

By Françoise de Graffigny with Joan DeJean

MLA, 1993

One of the most popular works of the eighteenth century, Lettres d’une Péruvienne appeared in more than 130 editions, reprints, and translations during the hundred years following its publication in 1747. In French and in a new English translation.

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