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Erica Jong Biography

(1942– ), Fear of Flying, How To Save Your Own Life, Parachutes and Kisses

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American novelist and poet, born in New York City, and educated at Barnard College (New York), Columbia University, and Columbia School of Fine Arts. She has since held a number of academic posts. Fear of Flying (1973), her first, and most famous, novel, focuses on the sexual fantasies of the heroine, Isadora Wing, writer and New Yorker. Her frustrated, but adventurous, open-ended, and sexually experimental quest for self-knowledge struck a chord with many readers and critics. She appeared to herald a new kind of liberated, literary heroine. Its sequels are How To Save Your Own Life (1977), Parachutes and Kisses (1984), and Any Woman's Blues (1990). In a sense, Jong has revived the genre of picaresque fiction (long a male preserve) and given it a feminist edge. Her talent for literary and historical pastiche, successfully transformed into her own fictive vision, is reflected in Fanny, Being the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout Jones (1980) and Serenissima: A Novel of Venice (1987), perhaps her best novel. Her collections of verse, mainly confessional, include The Poetry of Erica Jong (1976), At the Edge of the Body (1979), Ordinary Miracles (1983), and Becoming Light: Poems New and Selected (1991). Fear of Fifty: A Mid-Life Memoir (1994) is an autobiographical account. She is also the author of The Devil at Large: Erica Jong on Henry Miller (1993), a biographical and critical reassessment of Miller and his works, relying on the author's acquaintance with her subject.

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