Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Susan David Gubar (GEW-bar) was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in English literature from City University of New York in 1965. In 1968 she completed her M.A. at the University of Michigan and in 1972 received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Following a year of teaching at the University of Chicago, Gubar joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1973, where she became a distinguished professor of English and women’s studies.
Gubar’s distinctive approach to feminist literary analysis has been classified by many scholars as woman-centered. Other feminist scholars whose works are considered in this category include Sandra Gilbert, Luce Irigaray, Kate Millett, Adrienne Rich, and Elaine Showalter. The term “woman-centered” refers to critical approaches that focus on women’s lives, suggesting that though often neglected in literature and academics, their experiences merit publication, readership, and serious study. The impact of gender on the literary form is central to woman-centered studies, often focusing on the need for authentic forms of expression for women’s voices and the quest for a woman’s language.
In 1979 Susan Gubar and her colleague Sandra Gilbert saw the publication of the first of their many jointly written works of literary criticism, The Madwoman in the Attic. Recognized as a landmark work of feminist literary theory, their work was nominated for a...
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Susan Gubar studied at City College of New York, the University of Michigan, and the University of Iowa. She has taught at Indiana University at Bloomington since 1973. Gilbert and Gubar began collaborating on literary criticism in the mid-1970’s while both taught at Indiana University. Each had previously published extensively, but their discussions led them to new discoveries about literature. The excitement generated by their joint exploration of the subject matter is evident throughout the volumes they have produced as a team. After Sandra Gilbert left Indiana in 1975, she and Susan Gubar continued working together through phone calls and extensive travel. The focus in their writing on women writers’ sense of identity reflects the women’s movement’s attempts to redefine women’s place in society. Gilbert and Gubar’s persuasive arguments that literary works reflect the time and culture in which they are written, as well as the gender of the author, helped to revolutionize literary criticism. Many previous critical schools treated works of literature as timeless monuments to human greatness. Gilbert and Gubar’s collaborative method embodies the ideal of solidarity between women, which is central to the women’s movement.
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