Cynthia Propper Seton Critical Essays

Introduction

Cynthia Propper Seton 1926–1982

American novelist and nonfiction writer.

Seton, who describes herself as a committed feminist, writes stylish, "serious" comedies about mature men and women and how the cultural changes that have occurred in America since the 1960s have affected their lives. Her female protagonists, often well-educated and formidably capable women who have spent most of their lives raising children, are portrayed as struggling to reconcile their pasts with what might have been and what is to come. Seton's male characters, usually stable professionals with traditional values, are also faced with the need to reexamine their lives and adjust their expectations. Typically, the well-established and familiar worlds of these men and women are disrupted by some dilemma, the resolution of which will have a significant impact on their lives.

Seton has won critical favor for her lively and finely crafted prose, ironic wit, and compassionate analyses of the well-intentioned lives of ordinary people. She is praised for her evenhanded characterizations of men in works that clearly express an allegiance to women and a commitment to their liberation from traditional social alignments.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed., Vol. 108 [obituary] and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 7.)