Background and personal
Early Malcolm book jackets report her "living in New York with her husband and daughter." Her daughter is also mentioned in the text of The Crime of Sheila McGough
Malcolm claimed that Masson had called himself an "intellectual gigolo
", and that he had slept with over 1,000 women. She also claimed that he said he wanted to turn the Freud estate into a haven of "sex, women and fun"; and claimed that he was, "after Freud
, the greatest analyst that ever lived." Malcolm was unable to produce all the disputed material on tape. The case was partially adjudicated before the Supreme Court
, which held, against Malcolm, that the case could go forward for trial by jury.
After a decade of proceedings, a jury finally decided in Malcolm's favor on November 2, 1994, on the grounds that, whether or not the quotations were genuine, more evidence would be needed to rule against Malcolm.
In August 1995, Malcolm claimed to have discovered a misplaced notebook containing three of the disputed quotes.
As reported in The New York Times
, the author "declared in an affidavit under penalty of perjury that the notes were genuine."
The Journalist and the Murderer
The thesis of The Journalist and the Murderer
is contained in its first sentence: "Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible."
Malcolm contended that McGinniss was pressed into this strategy for professional and structural reasons — by MacDonald's "lack of vividness"
as a real-life character who would be carrying the book. "As every journalist will confirm," Malcolm writes,
MacDonald's uninterestingness is not unusual at all ... When a journalist fetches up against someone like [him], all he can do is flee and hope that a more suitable subject will turn up soon. In the MacDonald-McGinniss case we have an instance of a journalist who apparently found out too late that the subject of his book was not up to scratch — not a member of the wonderful race of auto-fictionalizers, like Joseph Mitchell
's Joe Gould
and Truman Capote
's Perry Smith
, on whom the "non-fiction novel
" depends for its life ... The solution that McGinniss arrived at for dealing with MacDonald's characterlessness was not a satisfactory one, but it had to do.
Per Malcolm, it was to conceal this deficit that McGinniss quoted liberally from Lasch's 1979 study The Culture of Narcissism
. This, to her, was a professional sin. McGinniss's moral sin, his "indefensible" act in her view, was to pretend to a belief in MacDonald's innocence, long after he'd become convinced of the man's guilt.
Malcolm's book created a sensation when in March 1989 it appeared in two parts in The New Yorker
Roundly criticized upon first publication,
the book is still controversial, although it has come to be regarded as a classic, according to Douglas McCollum.
It ranks ninety-seventh in The Modern Library
's list of the twentieth century's "100 Best Works of Nonfiction".
McCollum wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review
, "In the decade after Malcolm's essay appeared, her once controversial theory became received wisdom."
Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession
The Freud scholar Peter Gay
wrote of Malcolm's study of the modern psychoanalytic
profession, "Janet Malcolm's witty and wicked Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession
has been praised by psychoanalysts (with justice) as a dependable introduction to analytic theory and technique. It has the rare advantage over more solemn texts of being funny as well as informative".
In his 1981 New York Times
review, Joseph Edelson wrote that Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession
"is an artful book. It succeeds in part because Miss Malcolm brings to her work a keen eye for the surfaces - clothing, speech and furniture - that express character and social role. (She is the photography critic for The New Yorker). It succeeds because she has instructed herself so carefully in the technical literature. Above all, it succeeds because she has been able to engage Aaron Green in a simulacrum of the psychoanalytic encounter - he confessing to her, she (I suspect) to him, the two of them joined in an intricate minuet of revelation."
Malcolm's penchant for controversial subjects and tendency to insert her beliefs and opinions into her narratives has brought her both admirers and critics. "Leaning heavily on the techniques of psychoanalysis, she probes not only actions and reactions but motivations and intent; she pursues literary analysis like a crime drama and courtroom battles like novels," wrote Cara Parks in The New Republic
. Parks praised Malcolm's "intensely intellectual style" as well as her "sharpness and creativity."
But in Esquire
, Tom Junod
characterized Malcolm as "a self hater whose work has managed to speak for the self-hatred (not to mention the class issues) of a profession that has designs on being 'one of the professions' but never will be." Junod found her to be devoid of "journalistic sympathy" and observed, "Very few journalists are more animated by malice than Janet Malcolm." He concluded that Malcolm is both "self-serving" and "utterly full of shit."
Awards and honors
- ^ "Devil in the detail: Janet Malcolm interview". telegraph.co.uk. The article gives the name as Wienovera, which obviously is a corruption of Wienerova, the regular Czech female form of the family name Wiener.
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
- ^ "Six Glimpses of the Past. Janet Malcolm. The New Yorker, October 29, 2018". from The New Yorker.
- ^ "Guide to the Winn Family Collectionundated, 1905-1983, bulk 1926-1963AR 25493". findingaids.cjh.org.
- ^ "Donald Malcolm". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- ^ Quindlen, Anna (1993-05-19). "Public & Private; Quote Unquote". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- ^ "Masson v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc., 501 U.S. 496 (1991)". cornell.edu. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- ^ "Boynton, Robert, Till Press Do Us Part: The Trial of Janet Malcolm and Jeffrey Masson". The Village Voice. 1994-11-28. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
- ^ Stout, David (1995-08-30). "Malcolm's Lost Notes And a Child at Play". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- ^ "Stout, David, The New York Times, "Malcolm's Notes and a Child at Play", August 30, 1995". New York Times. 1995-08-30. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- ^ Malcolm, Janet, The Journalist and the Murderer, New York: Knopf, 1990.
- ^ Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer, pp. 28, 72-3.
- ^ Malcolm, p.68
- ^ Malcolm, pps. 71-3.
- ^ Scardino, Albert, The New York Times. "Ethic, Reporters and The New Yorker", March 21. 1989. "Janet Malcolm, a staff writer for The New Yorker, returned her magazine to the center of the long-running debate over ethics in journalism this month ... Her declarations provoked outrage among authors, reporters and editors, who rushed last week to distinguish themselves from the journalists Miss Malcolm was describing."
- ^ See Friendly, Fred W., The New York Times Book Review, "Was Trust Betrayed?", February 25, 1990, and Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher, The New York Times, "Deception and Journalism: How Far to Go for the Story", February 22, 1990.
- ^ a b McCollum, Douglas, Columbia Journalism Review, "You Have The Right to Remain Silent", January, February, 2003.
- ^ Search for a Title or Author. "The Modern Library 100 Best". Randomhouse.com. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- ^ Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Times (London 1988) p. 763.
- ^ Adelson, Joseph (1981-09-27). "Not Much Has Changed Since Freud". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- ^ Parks, Cara (30 April 2013). "In Praise of Janet Malcolm's Prickly Career". newrepublic.com. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- ^ "Tom Junod: Murdoch's Spawn, Brought to You by The Times". esquire.com. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- ^ "Our Critic's Tip Sheet on Current Reading: Kingsley Amis Drinks; Bill Bryson Admonishes; and PEN Bestows Prizes". The New York Observer. May 19, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
- ^ Kirsten Reach (January 14, 2014). "NBCC finalists announced". Melville House Publishing. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- ^ "Announcing the National Book Critics Awards Finalists for Publishing Year 2013". National Book Critics Circle. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
Last edited on 25 March 2021, at 19:24
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