The Belknap Visitors in the Humanities

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.


The program of Belknap Visitors was created to recognize distinguished individuals in the arts and letters. Past visitors have been Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nadine Gordimer, Roy Lichtenstein, Athol Fugard, Doris Lessing, John Updike, Edward Albee, Czeslaw Milosz, Carlos Fuentes, Frank Stella, Robertson Davies, Peter Sellars, Arthur Miller, Merce Cunningham, Harold Pinter, Adrienne Rich, Maurice Sendak, Wim Wenders, Richard Serra, Chuck Close, Twyla Tharp, Ricky Jay, Toshiko Takaezu, Meryl Streep, Roz Chast, Alice Waters, David Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Frank Rich, and Maya Lin.

Belknap Visitors spend an intensive day on campus.

Joseph Henry House (map)
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Telephone: (609) 258-4717
Fax: (609) 258-2783
E-mail: hum@princeton.edu
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