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Will the Real Barbara Leavy Stand Up
Posted by Barbara Leavy on Feb 15 2011, 11:51 PM

My advanced degrees from New York University earned me diplomas under the name of Barbara Fass.  By then I had no connection whatsoever to the man whose name I had taken when we married.  Our two children no longer carry his name either. Unfortunately, I published my first book, LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI AND THE AESTHETICS OF ROMANTICISM, which was my revised dissertation, as Barbara Fass.  Unless I was to distance myself from this book, and I didn't want to, I was stuck with the name.

When I published my second book (and the three that followed, as well as many scholarly essays), I was Barbara Leavy in my personal life, which had improved enormously. Wanting to connect author Barbara Leavy with author Barbara Fass, I became professionally Barbara Fass Leavy.

I had published a scholarly essay on the poet Christina Rossetti as Barbara Fass,  and a subsequent essay on Rossetti as Barbara Fass Leavy.  In a feminist study of Rossetti, I was listed separately in the bibliography under the two names.  The author was either not going to take anything for granted but more likely she was expressing her disapproval.  I was not the only female scholar with multiple names reflecting different personal staqes of her life.  I was, however, probably being rebuked.  Ironically, both my essays on Rossetti were feminist, about how being a woman affected her poems. But the identify problem caused by the two names were only the beginning.  Click on Who Google Thinks I Am when you return to Topics.

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