Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Cathleen Schine (shin) has carved a niche for herself as a novelist of ideas who gives the genre of the intellectual novel a distinctly feminist slant. Increasingly respected as a novelist, she is also a well-known journalist and cultural commentator.
Schine lived an undramatic suburban childhood marred in her late adolescence by an automobile accident that caused severe facial damage. She went through an extensive period of convalescence, both physical and psychological, which later served as the model for the experience of the title character in her first novel, Alice in Bed. After graduating from college, Schine moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, where she undertook graduate studies at New York University. Schine originally intended to become a professor of medieval studies, and she did considerable doctoral work in that field. Some of her interests were in the millenarian thought of the Middle Ages and in the society of Renaissance Florence. She decided that the academic life was not for her, however, and undertook to pursue a literary career.
Schine’s first novel, Alice in Bed, was—like many first novels—autobiographical, though the book is told in the third person. The book explores the irony that, even though Alice suffers as a result of her incapacitation, being “in bed” is, in a sense, the natural condition for an intellectual, emphasizing as it does the contemplative over the active. “In...
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