Sandra M. Gilbert

1936 –

Poet and critic Sandra M. Gilbert was born on December 27, 1936, in New York City. She was educated at Cornell University, New York University, and Columbia University, where she received her PhD in 1968.

Among Gilbert’s most widely known works are her collaborations with Susan Gubar, particularly The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (Yale University Press, 1979), regarded as a seminal work of feminist criticism. In 1995, she published Wrongful Death: A Medical Tragedy (W. W. Norton & Company), a prose memoir indicting medical malpractice and eulogizing her husband, who had died four years earlier after routine surgery for prostate cancer. Ghost Volcano (W. W. Norton & Company), a book of poetry in memory of her late husband, appeared the same year.

Gilbert’s other collections of poetry include Aftermath: Poems (W. W. Norton & Company, 2011); Belongings (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005); The Italian Collection (Depot Books, 2003); Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies (W. W. Norton & Company, 2001); Kissing the Bread: New and Selected Poems, 1969–1999 (W. W. Norton & Company, 2000); Blood Pressure (W. W. Norton & Company, 1988); The Summer Kitchen (The Heyeck Press, 1983); and In the Fourth World (University of Alabama Press, 1979).

Gilbert is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she has served as president of the Modern Language Association and earned an honorary degree from Wesleyan University. Gilbert has taught at numerous colleges and universities across the country and currently holds a position as a professor emerita of English at the University of California, Davis. She lives in Berkeley.