Kate Millett, Influential Feminist Writer, Is Dead at 82 (NYT)

Kate Millett, Influential Feminist Writer, Is Dead at 82

http://nyti.ms/2xctioa

“Kate achieved great fame and celebrity, but she was never comfortable as a public figure,” Eleanor Pam, another leading feminist, said by email. “She was preternaturally shy. Still, she inspired generations of girls and women who read her words, heard her words and understood her words.”

Katherine Murray Millett was born on Sept. 14, 1934, in St. Paul. As a 1970 profile in The New York Times put it, “after a series of clashes in the local parochial schools over her rapidly dwindling belief in Roman Catholic doctrine,” Ms. Millett enrolled in the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1956, then went to Oxford.

After teaching briefly at the University of North Carolina, she pursued her art career in Japan and then New York, where she took a job at Barnard College teaching English literature. In 1965 she married the Japanese sculptor Fumio Yoshimura, but she rejected many traditional ideas of marriage and eventually came out as a lesbian. (The couple divorced in the 1980s.)

Her autobiographical work “Flying,” published in 1974, told of the dizzying fame “Sexual Politics” had brought and her reaction to it. “Sita,” in 1977, dealt with her sexuality.

“Going to Iran” (1981), illustrated with Ms. Keir’s photographs, told of her trip to that country in 1979 in the midst of the Iranian revolution. In 1990 came “The Loony-Bin Trip,” about being told she was bipolar. “Mother Millett” (2001) was about her relationship with and care of her aging mother.

Ms. Millett and Ms. Keir were married recently.

Ms. Pam once wrote of a dinner she had with Ms. Millett at which her friend seemed glum about her inability to secure a steady academic appointment, while an acquaintance of theirs had succeeded in doing so. She said she tried to buck up Ms. Millett’s spirits by telling her, “But you will be in the history books and she won’t.”

A more complete obituary will appear on Thursday.

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September 6, 2017 at 06:21PM