Jennifer Alexander, a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, died in a 10-vehicle crash on an icy highway in New Jersey while returning from performing in "The Nutcracker" in Pennsylvania. She was 35. Alexander died Sunday night at the scene of the crash in East Rutherford, the New York-based company said. The pileup also killed another person. Three other dancers were in the car with Alexander. One was her husband, who was hospitalized.
Elizabeth Hardwick, a Kentucky-born author and critic whose incisive prose helped her fulfill her dream of becoming a "New York Intellectual," has died in New York. She was 91. Hardwick was among the last survivors of a promiscuous, hard-drinking circle of intellectuals that included poet Robert Lowell, with whom she had a famously difficult marriage. She married Lowell in 1949 and suffered through his infidelities and manic-depression, endlessly leaving her and then changing his mind. They divorced in 1972. Although she started out as a fiction writer, Hardwick received her greatest acclaim as a critic. "Seduction and Betrayal," an analysis of such literary heroines as Hester Prynne of "The Scarlet Letter," became required reading for studies of women in fiction. Hardwick also helped found an essential highbrow publication: The New York Review of Books. It was conceived during a newspaper strike in New York City, when she and Lowell were lamenting with friends Jason and Barbara Epstein over the poor state of literary criticism. Her first novel, "The Ghostly Lover," came out in 1945 and related the conflicts of a middle-class Kentucky family. Diana Trilling, reviewing the book, compared her to Eudora Welty and D.H. Lawrence.