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Alison Lurie

Frederic J. Whiton Professor of American Literature Emerita

Educational Background

Radcliffe College, AB


American writer and scholar Alison Lurie, is probably best known for her novels, which have often been described as social satire. She has also published a collection of ghost stories, Women and Ghosts (1994), a book on the psychology of fashion, The Language of Clothes (1981), and a collection of essays on children’s literature and folklore, Don’t Tell the Grownups (1990).

Her first novel, Love and Friendship (1962), is set in the imaginary New England college town of Converse and describes an unexpected love affair. The Nowhere City (1965) takes place in Los Angeles, where Alison Lurie and her family lived from 1957 to 1961. Its characters include a film starlet, a psychiatrist, and other assorted local types. The War Between the Tates (1974) is set in Corinth University, which has been said to have some similarities to Cornell, and its main characters are a professor who becomes involved with a graduate student, and his distressed wife. It later became an NBC television film starring Elizabeth Ashley and Richard Crenna. She is also the author of three collections of traditional folktales for children, and was coeditor of the 73-volume Garland Library of Children’s Classics.


  • English


  • The Novel
  • Folklore
  • Children’s Literature
  • Creative Writing