Darlinghissima (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Writing under the pen name of Genêt, Janet Flanner was The New Yorker’s Paris correspondent from 1925 until her retirement in 1975. Thus, she was able to witness and record her reactions to many of the great events of the times, including World War II and its aftermath; the Nuremberg trials; the McCarthy years; the Korean and Vietnam wars; and the student rebellions of the 1960’s. In addition, she knew well or was acquainted with various literary celebrities, especially those attached to the Paris scene after World War I, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Kay Boyle, Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and those who visited Paris after World War II—Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and Carson McCullers, to name but a few.
Flanner’s writings brought her critical acclaim and recognition, including membership in the American Institute of Arts and Letters and the French Legion of Honor. She published eight books before her death in 1978, including Paris Journal 1945-1965, which won for her the National Book Award. Nevertheless, she was a private person, except to those who knew her well, almost anonymous, hiding behind the pseudonym she used or the imposing but masked figure of a celebrated writer.
Probably Natalia Danesi Murray knew her best. Their friendship lasted from 1940, when they first met, until Janet Flanner’s death thirty-eight years later. Although not...
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