Carolyn Gold Heilbrun (January 13, 1926 in East Orange, New Jersey – October 9, 2003) was an American academic and prolific feminist. Heilbrun attended graduate school in English literature at Columbia University, receiving her M.A. in 1951 and Ph.D in 1959. Among her most important mentors were Columbia professors Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling, while Clifton Fadiman was an important inspiration.
Heilbrun taught English at Columbia for more than three decades (1960-1993). She was the first woman to receive tenure in Columbia’s English department (not unlike Trilling, who became first tenured Jew in that department less than two decades earlier). Her academic specialty was British modern literature, with a particular interest in the Bloomsbury group. Her academic books include the feminist study Writing a Woman’s Life (1988) — see non-fiction bibliography, below. Upon her retirement in 1997, she was Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities Emerita at Columbia.
Thinking about profound social change, conservatives always expect disaster, while revolutionaries confidentially expect utopia. Both are wrong.