The Paris Review

The Gift of Elizabeth Hardwick’s Attention

Elizabeth Hardwick.

Elizabeth Hardwick is one of the world’s most valuable essayists and literary critics. That is to say, her essays are of value to anyone interested in the ways in which women are made present in literature. In Seduction and Betrayal, readers are treated to the full reach of Hardwick’s deep intelligence: a hard, glinting, sophisticated, switched-on female intelligence. She understands what is at stake in literature, especially when talented women write it.

For a female writer, to risk stepping center stage in life and on the page, fully lit, a major player in a script she has written, will always mean she has transgressed from the societally sanctified role of being a minor player, lurking behind the velvet curtains (less exposing) in order to assist, flatter, dedicate her life to the male world and its undermining arrangements. Hardwick has no interest in flattery, nor in faux solidarity with minor writers. She cuts to the chase, offers her grateful readers new dimensions as to how literature is made and

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