Francine du Plessix Gray Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Francine du Plessix Gray was born in Poland while her father was serving there as a diplomat; she spent her young years in Paris. The daughter of a Frenchman, Bertrand du Plessix, and an expatriate Russian, Tatiana Iacovleff du Plessix Liberman, Francine’s youth was shaped by mixed cultures and multiple languages. She came to the United States in 1941, when her father died fighting in the Resistance as France was overrun by Germany in World War II. A year or so afterward, she became the stepdaughter of magazine editor Alexander Liberman upon her mother’s remarriage; in 1952, she became a naturalized citizen.{$S[A]Du Plessix, Francine[DuPlessix, Francine];Gray, Francine du Plessix}{$S[A]Plessix Gray, Francine du;Gray, Francine du Plessix}

Du Plessix learned English and learned to love her new language as a scholarship student at the Spence School, an exclusive girls’ school in New York City. From 1948 to 1950, she attended Bryn Mawr College and then studied in the summers of 1951 and 1952 at Black Mountain College; she received a bachelor of arts degree from Barnard College in 1952. Her writing career began in newspaper and magazine journalism after she completed her undergraduate program. She worked as a reporter for United Press International in New York for two years and then held different posts at various magazines; she was, for example, an editorial assistant for Realities in Paris and a book editor for Art in America in New York. Beginning in 1968 she was a staff writer for The New Yorker. Additionally, she has contributed fiction, nonfiction, and reviews to Saturday Review, The New York Review of Books, Ramparts, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, and other periodicals. She married the painter Cleve Gray in 1957; they had two sons.

Two elements are intertwined in much of the writing of Gray: her own remarkable personal history and her passionate ideological convictions. Her first...

(The entire section is 835 words.)