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Marilyn Yalom

Marilyn Yalom

(March 10, 1932 – November 20, 2019) was a feminist author and historian. She was a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, and a professor of French. She served as the institute's director from 1984 to 1985.

Life and work

Marilyn Yalom's scholarly publications include Blood Sisters (1993), A History of the Breast (1997), A History of the Wife (2001), Birth of the Chess Queen (2004), The American Resting Place (2008) with photos by Reid Yalom, and How the French Invented Love (2012).

Her books have been translated into 20 languages.

In addition to her text, The American Resting Place contains a portfolio of 64 black and white art photos taken by her son Reid Yalom. Marilyn Yalom was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly “honoring extraordinary leadership in the literary arts and continued commitment to ensuring the quality of reading” through her book The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History, thereby benefiting the people of the City and County of San Francisco and the State of California.”

Her most recent book, How the French Invented Love, was short-listed for the Phi Beta Kappa Gauss literary award and for the American Library in Paris book award, in 2013.

Yalom received her BA in French from Wellesley College in 1954, her MA in French and German from Harvard University in 1956, and her PhD in Comparative Literature from Johns Hopkins University in 1963. Yalom was decorated by the French government as an Officier des Palmes Academiques in 1991, and she received an Alumnae Achievement Award from Wellesley College in 2013.

She was married to the psychiatrist and author Irvin Yalom.

She died on November 20, 2019, from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer that affects the bone marrow.

Awards and honors

2013 American Library in Paris Book Award, shortlisted for How the French Invented Love

  • Maternity, Mortality, and the Literature of Madness (1985).
  • Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women's memory (1993).
  • A History of the Breast (1997).
  • A History of the Wife (2001).
  • Birth of the Chess Queen (2004).
  • The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History (2008).
  • How the French Invented Love (2012).
  • The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship (2015).
  • Compelled to Witness: Women's Memoirs of the French Revolution (2015).
  • The Amorous Heart: An Unconventional History of Love (2018).
  • A Matter of Death and Life with her husband (2021)


March 10, 1932
Marilyn Yalom was born in Chicago.


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