(Excerpted from Stanford News)
Marilyn Yalom, a pioneering scholar in gender studies and former lecturer in the Modern Thought and Literature Program, passed away in Palo Alto on Nov. 20, 2019. She was 87.
Yalom was a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford, where she served as director from 1984 to 1985. One of America’s leading cultural historians, Yalom admired the 18th-century French salon culture where women played a leading role in organizing events of intellectual discourse. She excelled in re-inventing this dynamic for her fellow women scholars on campus and beyond, as well as in her Palo Alto home.
Bridging cultures and continents, Yalom studied the history of women as partners in marriage and examined such provocative topics as the history of the female breast and the role women played in the French Revolution and its aftermath.A gifted writer and innovative thinker, Yalom published books that were translated into 20 languages: Blood Sisters (1993), A History of the Breast (1997), A History of the Wife (2001), Inside the American Couple (2002), Birth of the Chess Queen (2004), The American Resting Place (2008), The Social Sex (2015) and The Amorous Heart (2018). Her book, How the French Invented Love (2012), was short-listed for the Phi Beta Kappa Gauss literary award and for the American Library in Paris book award, in 2013.
Adrian Daub, the current director of the Clayman Institute, said, “Marilyn Yalom was instrumental to what was first CROW (Stanford’s Center for Research on Women) and later the Clayman Institute for virtually the entirety of its existence. She served as the institute’s director from 1984 to 1985 and was also a prolific and beloved institute senior scholar.
Daub, a professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature, added, “Beyond her important institutional work at Stanford, Marilyn’s books have had an immense reach and resonance. I note that two days after her death, Marilyn’s book A History of the Breast was cited extensively in an article in the New York Times – in an article on Instagram, of all things. It’s a sign that Marilyn Yalom’s work continues to resonate and will for decades to come.”
Read more about Yalom in these obituaries: