New York City, New York
|Occupation||Non-fiction writer, critic|
|Period||1994 — present|
|Notable work(s)||The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism (1994), Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 (2007)|
Katie Roiphe is an American author and journalist. She is best known as the author of the non-fiction examination The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism (1994). She is also the author of Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End (1997), and the 2007 study of writers and marriage, Uncommon Arrangements. Her 2001 novel Still She Haunts Me is an empathetic imagining of the relationship between Charles Dodgson (known as Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, the real-life model for Dodgson's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Background and education
Roiphe grew up in New York City, daughter of noted feminist Anne Roiphe. She attended the all-female Brearley School, received a B.A. from Harvard University/Radcliffe College in 1990, and received a Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University in 1996.
The Morning After
In her first book, The Morning After, Roiphe argues that in many instances of supposed campus date rape, women are at least partly responsible for their actions. "One of the questions used to define rape was: 'Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn't want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?' The phrasing raises the issue of agency. Why aren't college women responsible for their own intake of alcohol or drugs? A man may give her drugs, but she herself decides to take them. If we assume that women are not all helpless and naive, then they should be responsible for their choice to drink or take drugs. If a woman's 'judgment is impaired' and she has sex, it isn't always the man's fault; it isn't necessarily always rape."
Writing for The New Yorker, Katha Pollitt delivered a scathing review of The Morning After, writing, "It is a careless and irresponsible performance, poorly argued and full of misrepresentations, slapdash research, and gossip. She may be, as she implies, the rare grad student who has actually read "Clarissa", but when it comes to rape and harassment she has not done her homework." But the controversial book wasn't without its positive reviews. Declaring it a "Book of the Times", The New York Times said "it is courageous of Ms. Roiphe to speak out against the herd ideas that campus life typically encourages." Likewise, The Washington Post Book World described the book as "clearheaded, wry, disturbing," saying "Katie Roiphe writes from the trenches of gender warfare."
Roiphe's second book was 1997's Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End. She also began to contribute reviews and essays to Vogue, Harper's, Slate, The Washington Post, Dissent, and The New York Times. She has continued to serve as a sort of cultural lightning rod, for a persistent discomfort about a woman's proper role. More recently, she had an essay featured in the anthology Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers. In her essay, entitled "Elect Sister Frigidaire", Roiphe writes that Hillary Clinton is “in many ways the feminist dream incarnate, the opportunity made flesh, the words we whisper to little girls: ‘You can be president. You can do anything you want.’” Reviewing the book for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani noted that some of Roiphe's observations were in "stark contrast" to what Kakutani considered some of the "antifeminist" pieces in the collection. She has also written a novel based on the life of Lewis Carroll and his relationship with the real Alice, called Still She Haunts Me, which was published in 2001.
In 2007, Roiphe published Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939. Donna Seaman, in the trade publication Booklist, gave the book a starred review, writing, "Roiphe, inspired aesthetically and philosophically by the writings and lives of these social and artistic pioneers, offers sophisticated psychological, sexual, and social analysis, fashioning uncommonly affecting portraits of uncommon men and women." In The New York Times, the editor and critic Tina Brown called it "the perfect bedside book for an age like our own, when everything is known and nothing is understood." In The New York Observer, Alexandra Jacobs conceded "Katie haters will be sorry to hear that it’s very absorbing. The author has done something constructive, for a change, with her contempt for the contemporary age’s lily-livered female psyche..." Roiphe responded to some of her critics in an essay in Slate including Gawker.
In 2012, Roiphe published the essay collection In Praise of Messy Lives. In The New York Times, critic Dwight Garner praised the book, writing, "I’ve begun recommending it to people, particularly to would-be writers, explaining that Ms. Roiphe’s are how you want your essays to sound: lean and literate, not unlike Orwell’s, with a frightening ratio of velocity to torque....Among Ms. Roiphe’s gifts is one for brevity. She lingers long enough to make her points, and no longer. If I could condense my opinion of her new book onto a T-shirt, that Beefy-T would read: 'Team Roiphe.'"
Roiphe is an associate professor at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
- The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism (1994)
- Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End (1997)
- Still She Haunts Me (2001)
- Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 (2007)
- In Praise of Messy Lives (2012)
- Elizabeth Bumiller, "An Elite School Is Having a Tough Time Finding a Leader", New York Times, January 26, 1997.
- "WEDDINGS; Katie Roiphe, Harry Chernoff". The New York Times. 14 October 2001. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- Traister, Rebecca (9 July 2007). "Katie Roiphe’s morning after". Salon magazine. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- Roiphe, Katie (11 August 2012). "In Defense of Single Motherhood". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- Katie Roiphe, Date Rape's Other Victim, New York Times, 13 June 1993.
- Not Just Bad Sex
- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, Divergent Views of Rape As Violence and Sex, The New York Times, September 16, 1993
- Book Jacket on Amazon
- Book Table of Contents on Amazon.com.
- Michiko Kakutani, Candidate Clinton Scrutinized by Women, The New York Times, January 15, 2008.
- Donna Seaman, "Uncommon Arrangements", Booklist, June 1, 2007.
- Tina Brown, "Couples", New York Times, June 24, 2007.
- Alexandra Jacobs, Roiphe Escapes From Herself, Delves Into Edwardian Marriages, The New York Observer, June 26, 2007.
- Dwight Garner, "Defending the Unruly Realm: ‘In Praise of Messy Lives,’ Essays by Katie Roiphe," The New York Times, November 27, 2012.
- Review of In Praise of Messy Lives in The New York Times, November 2012
-  Transcript of interview with Ramona Koval, The Book Show, ABC Radio National.
- Katie Roiphe on Susan Sontag and her son's memoir, Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir. The New York Times Book Review, February 3, 2008.
- Roiphe reviews Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, by Janet Malcolm. The New York Times Book Review, September 23, 2007.
- Roiphe reviews The Mistress's Daughter, by A.M. Homes. The New York Times Book Review, April 3, 2007.
- Date rape piece by Roiphe, adapted from The Morning After
- Roiphe critiques a feminist supporter of Clinton and Schwarzenegger
- Roiphe op-ed piece on the "Bush mandate" and its threat to abortion rights
- Not Just Bad Sex, by Katha Pollitt — critical review of The Morning After
- New York Times Review of Uncommon Arrangements
- Is Maureen Dowd Necessary?, Slate, 2 November 2005 — Roiphe critiques Dowd's Are Men Necessary