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Marge Piercy Biography

(1936– ), Vida, Going Down Fast, Dance the Eagle Asleep, Woman on the Edge of Time

American novelist, poet, and political activist; born in Detroit, she received a Jewish upbringing. She was educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, and her political engagement formed in the context of student unrest during the 1960s. Piercy suffered physical abuse from the authorities during political demonstrations in New York City; such an attack is described in Vida (1980), a novel which documents the fate of student activists in the increasingly conservative America of the 1970s. In this work and in novels such as Going Down Fast (1969) and Dance the Eagle Asleep (1971), Piercy explores the relationships between sexual liberation and political radicalism through characters who seek to reform American society. Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) presents a Utopian vision of a society untouched by sexism or racism (see Utopia and Anti-Utopia). Other novels include the autobiographical Braided Lives (1982), Fly Away Home (1984), and Gone to Soldiers (1987) which chronicles the pervasive effects of the Second World War. Her poems, characterized by the voice of a radical socialist feminist, have been collected in Hard Loving (1969), The Moon is Always Female (1980), My Mother's Body (1985), and Available Light (1988). Her essays have appeared in The Grand Coolie Dam (1970) and Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt (1982).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellis’ [Edith Mary Pargeter] ‘Peters Biography to Portrait of Dora (Portrait de Dora)