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Seduction and Betrayal


The novelist and essayist Elizabeth Hardwick is one of contemporary America’s most brilliant writers, and Seduction and Betrayal, in which she considers the careers of women writers as well as the larger question of the presence of women in literature, is her most passionate and concentrated work of criticism. A gallery of unforgettable portraits—of Virginia Woolf and Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Wordsworth and Jane Carlyle—as well as a provocative reading of such works as Wuthering Heights, Hedda Gabler, and the poems of Sylvia Plath, Seduction and Betrayal is a virtuoso performance, a major writer’s reckoning with the relations between men and women, women and writing, writing and life.


Hardwick herself is, characteristically without ostentation or polemics, a gifted miniaturist biographer.
— Joyce Carol Oates

A rich, moving historical pageant. Literature’s women—the creators and the created—pass before us on stage sets of art, romance, sex, and death.
— Margo Jefferson, Newsweek

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