Janet Malcolm


Janet Malcolm was born in Prague. She was educated at the High School of Music and Art, in New York, and at the University of Michigan. Along with In the Freud Archives, her books include Diana and Nikon: Essays on Photography, Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession, The Journalist and the Murderer, The Purloined Clinic: Selected Writings, The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, The Crime of Sheila McGough, and Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey. She wrote about the trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova, the mother of Michelle, in her book Iphigenia in Forest Hills, just out in paperback. Her collection Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers will be published in the spring of 2013.


She lives in New York.

See NYRB titles related to this contributor.

  • Free Associations: Collages

    January 8, 2012

    Last winter, I came into possession of the papers of an émigré psychiatrist who practiced in New York in the late 1940s and 1950s. The archive included a collection of manila envelopes, around six by ten inches, stuffed with folded sheets of thin paper covered with single-spaced typing: the notes the psychiatrist made after seeing patients (many of them fellow émigrés) in his office. As I studied the sheets with their inky typewriting and 60-year-old paper clips holding them together and leaving rust marks on the surface, my collagist’s imagination began to stir. I began to “see” some version of the collages on view here.

  • Comedy Central on the Mall

    November 8, 2010

    On October 31, Peter Clothier, a seventy-four-year-old author and retired professor, posted an entry on his blog, called The Buddha Diaries, about the wonderful day he and his wife Ellie had spent at the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on October 30 at the Mall in Washington, D.C., between noon and 3 PM. "We stood there trapped for a good two hours, surrounded by people who, like us, had showed up. We saw nothing, heard nothing of what was happening on the stage. It was great!" Clothier writes.

  • Thoughts on Autobiography from an Abandoned Autobiography

    March 25, 2010

    I have been aware, as I write this autobiography, of a feeling of boredom with the project. My efforts to make what I write interesting seem pitiful. My hands are tied, I feel. I cannot write about myself as I write about the people I have written about as a journalist. To these people I have been a kind of amanuensis: they have dictated their stories to me and I have retold them. They have posed for me and I have drawn their portraits. No one is dictating to me or posing for me now.