Janet Malcolm

5 articles

Dreams and Anna Karenina

On the particular genius of Tolstoy.


The Master Writer of the City

Joseph Mitchell used composites in his non-fiction, invented characters and added flourishes to his facts. Does it matter?


Iphigenia in Forest Hills

Anatomy of a murder trial.


Janet Malcolm: The Art of Nonfiction No. 4

“I think you are asking me, in the most tactful way possible, about my own ­aggression and malice. What can I do but plead guilty? I don’t know ­whether journalists are more aggressive and malicious than people in other professions. We are certainly not a ‘helping profession.’ If we help anyone, it is ourselves, to what our subjects don’t realize they are letting us take. I am hardly the first writer to have noticed the not-niceness of journalists. Tocqueville wrote about the despicableness of American journalists in Democracy in America. In Henry James’s satiric novel The Reverberator, a wonderful rascally journalist named George M. Flack appears. I am only one of many contributors to this critique. I am also not the only journalist contributor. Tom Wolfe and Joan Didion, for instance, have written on the subject. Of course, being aware of your rascality doesn’t excuse it.”


What Happened to Michelle in Forest Hills?

Behind the tabloid story of the “murder orphan” in Queens.