Were the Only Models We Had:
My Teachers Barzun, Fadiman, Trilling.
University of Pennsylvania Press,
159 pages, $24.95
This is an extraordinary book, I am relieved to say. If Mr. Kurtz had kicked free of the earth, as Conrad wrote, the Columbia English professor Carolyn Heilbrun has kicked free at least from common sense and immensely shared human experience. The womans movement, she tells us, struck her as an overwhelming and liberating development. She appears here to be interested in absolutely nothing except the situation of women as she sees it. I called this book extraordinary, not intending that as a celebration. If the emotions and ideas that inform it came to prevail generally, life would not be worth living.
When you know that she has written a book on androgyny, you understand that we are in serious trouble. In 1997 she...