Diane Middlebrook, the leading feminist scholar who helped launch feminist studies at Stanford University and wrote acclaimed biographies of poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, died on Dec. 15. She was 68.
She is best known for her 1991 bestseller Anne Sexton: A Biography, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Her Husband: Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath, a Marriage, a 2003 bestseller about the tumultuous marriage of the poets.
Middlebrook also wrote Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton, a 1998 biography about a female jazz musician who lived as a man. A biography about the Roman poet Ovid is expected to be published next year to coincide with the 2,000th anniversary of his birth.
“I think her legacy as a biographer is her incredible humanity,” said author Kate Moses, one of many writers and artists encouraged by Middlebrook. “She never sacrificed humanity in maintaining an acute critical recognition of her subject.”