Marilyn French, feminist and novelist, dies at 79

May 5, 2009 11:41:49 AM PDT
The writer and feminist Marilyn French, whose novel "The Women's Room" sold 20 million copies in as many languages, has died of heart failure in New York City.

Carol Jenkins of New York's Women's Media Center says the 79-year-old died on Saturday.

Jenkins says French's landmark 1977 novel "connected with millions of women who had no way before of claiming their anger and discontent."

French was teaching college when she wrote the novel about the journey to independence of a 1950s housewife who gets divorced and goes to graduate school. The book mirrored aspects of her own life experiences, including the rape of her daughter.

Her last novel is to be published this fall.

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