Thirty-five years ago, Sandra M Gilbert and Susan Gubar coauthored a book with the wonderful title The Madwoman in the Attic. Their argument, briefly, was that Victorian fiction allowed for two kinds of women, either angels or monsters. Teeming with fresh ideas, The Madwoman in the Attic was one of those books that becomes a foundation stone of English literature syllabuses everywhere; when I was an undergraduate, Gilbert and Gubar, as they were known, were as famous as Gilbert and Sullivan.
Once a book has entered your life in such a way, the writers feel like friends, so I was delighted to catch up with Gilbert once again and find out what she’s been doing. No longer in the attic, she can now be found in the most mysterious room of