Erica Jong

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Erica Jong (née Mann, born March 26, 1942, in New York City, New York) is an American author and educator.


  • 1 Career
  • 2 Personal life
  • 3 Views on September 11, 2001
  • 4 Bibliography
    • 4.1 Fiction
    • 4.2 Non-fiction
    • 4.3 Poetry
  • 5 Trivia
  • 6 Awards
  • 7 See also
  • 8 External links


A 1963 graduate of Barnard College, with an M.A. in 18th century English Literature from Columbia University (1965), Jong is best known for her first novel, Fear of Flying (published in 1973), which created a sensation with its frank treatment of a woman's sexual desires.

Jong wrote Fear of Flying in the first person, and her main character suffers from the fear of flying in more than one way, including the literal one. As her airline flight is taking off from New York on its way to Vienna, Austria, she says, "My fingers (and toes) turn to ice, my stomach leaps upward into my rib cage, the temperature in the tip of my nose drops to the same level as the temperature in my fingers, my nipples stand up and salute the inside of my bra (or in this case, dress--since I'm not wearing a bra)..." She created a new type of heroine, that used an affair as a means to self-discovery, breaking the boundaries of the traditional narratives that used affairs as a consequence to disaster.

Personal life

Jong grew up in New York City, the middle daughter of Seymour Mann (né Nathan Weisman), a Jewish musician (of Polish ancestry), and his wife, the former Eda Mirsky, a painter and textile designer whose family immigrated to the United States from England and before that Russia. She has an elder sister, Suzanna, who married a Lebanese businessman/organic farmer/TV personality, Arthur Daou, and a younger sister, Claudia, who married Gideon Oberweger, and is a social worker in the field of addiction. Among her nephews is Peter Daou, who writes "The Daou Report" for and who was one-half of the dance-music group The Daou.

Jong has been married four times. Her first two marriages, to college sweetheart Michael Werthman and to Allan Jong, a Chinese-American psychiatrist, share many similarities to those of the narrator described in Fear of Flying. Her third husband was Jonathan Fast, a novelist and social work educator, and son of novelist Howard Fast (this marriage was described in How to Save Your Own Life and Parachutes and Kisses). Jong is known to some for a one night stand with publisher Andy Stewart, then the husband of Martha Stewart, an episode detailed in Jong's 2006 book Seducing the Demon. Her daughter from her third marriage, Molly Jong-Fast, has published a novel (Normal Girl) and a memoir (Girl, Maladjusted). Molly's writing speaks of the emptiness she encountered in trying to live out the sexual liberties lauded in her mother's work. Jong-Fast is working on her third book, a novel (The Social Climber's Handbook).

She is presently married to Ken Burrows, a New York divorce lawyer. In the late 1990s Jong wrote an article about her fourth marriage in the magazine Interview. Since she and her prospective husband knew much about the hazards of marriage, they drew up a prenuptial agreement. After ten years, they noticed that they had never taken it out of the drawer where it had resided since its signing. She and her husband decided that it was no longer needed, so they ceremoniously burned it. This act has become a tradition in some circles.

Jong lived for three years, 1966-69 in Heidelberg, Germany with her second husband, while he was stationed at an army base there. She was a frequent visitor to Venice, and wrote about that city in her novel, Shylock's Daughter.

In 2007, her literary archive was aquired by Columbia Unversity in New York City.

Views on September 11, 2001

Jong has publicly questioned the official version of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[1] [2] She has made an appearance on Showbiz Tonight and more recently on Real Time with Bill Maher. Jong has openly expressed her support for Charlie Sheen in his 9/11-related interviews, calling him "a brave man."[1]



  • Fear Of Flying (1973)
  • How To Save Your Own Life (1977)
  • Fanny, Being The True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones (1980)
  • Parachutes & Kisses (1984)
  • Shylock's Daughter (1987): formerly titled Serenissima
  • Any Woman's Blues (1990)
  • Inventing Memory (1997)
  • Sappho's Leap (2003)


  • Witches (1981,1997,1999)
  • Megan's Two Houses (1984,1996)
  • The Devil at Large: Erica Jong on Henry Miller (1993)
  • Fear of Fifty: A Midlife Memoir (1994)
  • What Do Women Want? Bread Roses Sex Power (1998)
  • Seducing the Demon : Writing for My Life (2006)
  • Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave essay, "My Dirty Secret" (2007)


  • Fruits & Vegetables (1971,1997)
  • Half-Lives (1973)
  • Loveroot (1975)
  • At The Edge Of The Body (1979)
  • Ordinary Miracles (1983)
  • Becoming Light: New And Selected (1991)


  • Erica Jong is mentioned in the Bob Dylan song "Highlands".


  • Poetry Magazine's Bess Hokin Prize (1971)
  • Sigmund Freud Award For Literature (1975)
  • United Nations Award For Excellence In Literature (1998)
  • Deauville Award For Literary Excellence In France

See also

  • Laura Kipnis
  • What this woman wants - The Guardian, April 3, 1999.
    • In-depth interview and profile.
  • Audio interviews by Don Swaim
  • The Bat Segundo Show #30 (podcast interview)
  • Review of Seducing the Demon at
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