‘I Believe in Love’: Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Final Year, In Her Own Words

The difficult final year of a much-loved and legendarily difficult woman

Elizabeth Wurtzel
GEN
Published in
19 min readJan 8, 2020

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Photo illustration, Source: Neville Elder/Getty Images

Introduction by Garance Franke-Ruta. Jump to the start of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s essay here.

TThe late Elizabeth Wurtzel was best known for her memoirs and essays, especially Prozac Nation and Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, but after attending Yale Law School in her late 30s she also enjoyed having a voice in the political arena. She was as much an original there as everywhere else, and between 2010 and 2012 she wrote a series of pieces for me at The Atlantic.

A feminist and a New Yorker who had really lived, she looked at the world in a different way from all the boys on the bus in Washington. And she was funny. She would send long text messages written on her smartphone while she was walking through Washington Square Park, an emissary from a more vivid and creative world than the boxy K Street buildings I would pass en route to my office in the Watergate. Sometimes her stories would come in like that too, texted in graf by graf, and I’d knit the passages together in what seemed like the right order and ask for some connective language. The thoughts were always razor-sharp; the understanding of human nature acute.

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