Eva Figes, a refugee from Nazi Germany who became an acclaimed novelist, memoirist and critic best known for an influential feminist treatise, “Patriarchal Attitudes,” published in 1970, died on Aug. 28 at her home in London. She was 80.
The cause was heart failure, her son, Orlando, said.
Ms. Figes (pronounced FIE-jez) was 38, divorced and raising two children when she felt moved to write a blistering indictment of women’s standing in society and what she viewed as the inequality of marriage.
She had been a novelist to that point, but the experience of petty discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere (she was forced, for example, to get her ex-husband to guarantee the lease for her home even though he was paying no alimony) inspired her anger.
“The much vaunted male logic isn’t logical, because they display prejudices — against half the human race — that are considered prejudices according to any dictionary definition,” Ms. Figes wrote.
Her book was published within months of two other feminist polemics, Germaine Greer’s “Female Eunuch” (1970) and Kate Millett’s “Sexual Politics” (1969), and together they injected feminist ideas into the national conversation. Newspapers and television networks sought out Ms. Figes for her perspective.
But Ms. Figes was far too independent-minded and acerbic to stay with any movement for long. She could even be dismissive of her sisters-in-arms. “I have never read ‘The Female Eunuch,’ ” she told the British newspaper The Guardian in 1993. “It came out after my book and everyone said, ‘Don’t bother,’ so I didn’t. I think Germaine is mad and a lot of what she says is romantic hot air.”
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment