Janet Malcolm Biography


(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Malcolm was born in the 1930s to a Jewish family in pre-World War II Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her father was a psychiatrist. Because of rising anti- Semitism, the family left Europe in 1939 and settled in New York. Malcolm attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan and went on to the University of Michigan. Malcolm wrote reviews for the student paper and worked as an editor for the university’s humor magazine.

In the 1960s, Malcolm became a staff writer for the New Yorker, focusing primarily on interior decoration and design. By the 1970s she had branched out into writing about photography for the magazine. She published her first book, Diana and Nikon: Essays on the Aesthetic of Photography, in 1980. Ten of the eleven essays had originally appeared in the New Yorker, and many of her later books would also have their first publication in the magazine.

With her next book, Malcolm delved into the psychoanalytical world. Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession presented a history of the psychoanalytical profession and community. Her next book was the first of many that would cause great controversy. In 1983, Malcolm published a pair of articles in the New Yorker, ‘‘In the Freud Archives,’’ which was published by Knopf the following year. It concerned the fight for control of Sigmund Freud’s archives. Malcolm met one of the central figures, psychoanalyst Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, won his...

(The entire section is 446 words.)