After five years in the wilderness, "Sexual Politics" returns to print.
In the past couple of years, feminist author and artist Kate Millett seemed to be going through a rough patch. “Sexual Politics,” her most famous book, was out of print. She was out of work. And if the city of New York goes through with its plan to turn her building on the Bowery into an urban-renewal project, she may be out of a home.
But now at least a few of her worries have disappeared. Millett has become an adjunct professor at New York University. And she’s back in more ways than one: In March the University of Illinois Press will return both “Sexual Politics” (first published by Doubleday in 1970 and out of print since 1995) and the erotic memoir “Sita” to print. Next fall the house will also publish “The Loony Bin Trip” and “Flying.”
Last year, UIP publicity director Kim Grossmann came across an article in Salon in which Leslie Crawford, a San Francisco writer, described her surprise at learning that “Sexual Politics” was out of print. “My jaw dropped when I read that,” Grossman said. She relayed the news to UIP director Willis Regier, who decided to call Millett.
“Had Millett’s career fizzled out in 1970, she would have been a romantic episode — the brash and daring Jim Morrison of feminism,” Regier says. “But her continued dedication to the things she cared about when she was younger — particularly art and community and movies — makes me inclined to take her early writing even more seriously.”
“I’m very pleased,” Millett says. “I’d offered the book to the Doubleday paperback division, and a very young editor there thought it wouldn’t be suitable for women’s studies in the present market.”
Craig Offman is the New York correspondent for Salon Books. More Craig Offman.
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