The Belknap Visitors in the Humanities: Janet Malcolm
The Council of the Humanities is pleased to announce that Janet Malcolm, a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, will read from and discuss her most recent book, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, November 7, in McCosh Hall, Room 10. This event is free and open to the public. An acclaimed biographer known for her strikingly vivid portraits of writers and artists, Malcolm will discuss the life and work of Gene (Geneva) Stratton-Porter, a bestselling author of popular novels in the early-20th-century. Reading Stratton-Porter’s sentimental novels as a kind of “capitalist pastorale,” Malcolm exposes the materialism and consumerism in the author’s proto-environmentalism and her fairy-tale-like Cinderella stories, including the wildly popular coming-of-age romance A Girl of the Limberlost. Malcolm is the author of many intellectually provocative books, including The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes and Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, which was the recipient of the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. A frequent writer for The New York Review of Books, Malcolm’s most recent collection of essays takes on a variety of subjects: painters, photographers, writers, and artists. Ranging from Bloomsbury’s visual culture to the Gossip Girl novels, and from Edith Wharton to J. D. Salinger, Malcolm’s journalistic reporting rises, as Ian Frazier writes in his introduction to Forty-One False Starts, “to the highest level of literature.” Malcolm’s lecture will be introduced by the award-winning novelist and memoirist, A. M. Homes, who teaches creative nonfiction at Princeton University and writes frequently for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other publications.