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Erica Photo

Erica Jong Bio:

  • Born: March 26, 1942 New York, N.Y.
  • Education: B.A. Barnard College
  • M.A. Columbia University

  • Erica Jong

    Flying fearless at 56

    (CNN) -- There was a time when a story of a woman's sexual empowerment was considered shocking. In 1973, Erica Jong was a pioneer of such a theme with her best-selling "Fear of Flying." Jong is celebrating her 56th birthday Thursday.

    "Fear of Flying" established Jong internationally, gaining accolades from John Updike and Henry Miller. Miller described the book as "a female 'Tropic of Cancer'," encouraging women to "find their own voices and give us great sagas of sex, life, joy and adventure." The book is one of the best-selling books of the 1970s.

    Jong continues to write about the personal power of women in her novels, poetry and articles.

    She is married and has a daughter, who is also pursuing a writing career. Jong and her family divide their time between Manhattan, Connecticut, Vermont, and Italy.

    "It is rare these days to come upon a book written by a woman which is so refreshing, so gay and sad at the same time, and so full of wisdom about the eternal man-woman problem"
    -- Henry Miller on "Fear of Flying"

    Her latest book, published in July 1997, "Inventing Memory: A Novel of Mothers and Daughters" chronicles the 20th century through the lives of four women.

    Fear of Flying

    Synopsis of 'Fear of Flying'

    Fear of Flying is the story of Isadora Wing, one of the most hilarious and touching anti- heroines to ever appear in fiction. A compulsive daydreamer, a seeker of saviors and psychiatrists, the author of a book of supposedly erotic poems, and a full-fledged phobic who fears flying but will not allow that fear to keep her off planes, Isadora relates her adventures and misadventures with wit, exuberance, and the sort of absolute candor that for centuries was permitted only to men.

    On a trip to Vienna to attend a psychoanalytic congress with her psychiatrist husband, she meets an uninhibited Laingian analyst who seems the embodiment of all her steamiest fantasies. He lures her away from her husband on an existential jaunt across Europe, sleeping by roadsides, changing partners with people met at campsites, re-evaluating her life in some painful and funny ways. But the trip proves to be a journey backward in time as well as a reshuffle of the present.

    Though Isadora fears flying (in all possible senses of the word), she forces herself to keep traveling, to risk her marriage and her life is pursuit of her own brand of liberation.

    "Transcends being a woman's book and becomes a latter-day 'Ulysses', with a female Bloom stumbling and groping, but surviving."
    -- Excerpt of Wall Street Journal review of "Fear of Flying"

    The Works of Erica Jong


    • "Fear of Flying" (1973)
    • "How to Save Your Own Life" (1977)
    • "Fanny, Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones" (1980)
    • "Parachutes & Kisses" (1984)
    • "Shylock's Daughter" (formerly Serenissima) (1987)
    • "Any Woman's Blues" (1990)
    • "Fear of Fifty" (1994)
    • "Inventing Memory" (1997)


    • "Fruits & Vegetables" (1971)
    • "Half-Lives" (1973)
    • "Loveroot" (1975)
    • "At the Edge of the Body" (1979)
    • "Ordinary Miracles" (1983)
    • "Becoming Light: New and Selected" (1991)

    Other Works

    • "Witches" (1981, 1997)
    • "Megan's Two Houses" (1984)
    • "The Devil at Large: Erica Jong on Henry Miller" (1993)

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