For all the festivity that attends a harsh review or magazine profile, critics tend to be remembered for their loves, not their hatreds; for whom they defended, not destroyed. The critics who endure — Jarrell, Sontag, Berger, Barthes — are shameless proselytizers for their enthusiasms, as insistent as Jehovah’s Witnesses pressing upon you the good news.
The exception might be Janet Malcolm, she of the slashing style and Jovian pronouncements. For 40 years, she has written about literature, photography and psychoanalysis, inspired always by the “specter of wrongdoing,” especially the malice that blooms in the relationship between artist and subject. “We are certainly not a ‘helping profession,’” she once said of journalists. “If we help anyone, it is ourselves, to what our subjects don’t realize they’re letting us take.”
Malcolm has been called a vampire, “the most dangerous interviewer in journalism,” famously “not-nice” — and all this by her fans. Lucian Freud said that a good painting always contains “a little bit of poison.” Malcolm lets it pour. “I have never found anything any artist has said about his work interesting,” she remarked in a piece on the artist David Salle.
Her new collection of reviews, profiles and essays, “Nobody’s Looking at You,” is a reminder, however, that she is also a great champion. Her lodestar is Chekhov and “the values by which Chekhov’s good characters are ruled: patient, habitual work and sensible, calm behavior.”
She is drawn to decency, cleanliness, sanity, simplicity — these words recur in her work like talismans, when she writes about Edith Wharton or the biographer Quentin Bell. Goodness, but of a narrow kind, matters intensely to her. Malcolm is impatient with weakness and a lack of self-control — with people who “leak.” The goodness that attracts her is born of strength, reserve and resources. It is tangled up with tastefulness, too. The critic Gary Indiana wrote that her reporting is “studded with such novelistic details, which twinkle class assurance from reporter to reader: never mind what X thinks, he or she lives alone in an apartment so messy you and I would never dream of living there.”
The new book follows two more cohesive collections, “The Purloined Clinic” (1992) and “Forty-One False Starts” (2013). Malcolm writes here about the fashion designer Eileen Fisher, the concert pianist Yuja Wang, Tolstoy in translation, a favorite bookstore. What unites these pieces is a mood — heavy, autumnal, nostalgic.
There is a note of valediction. “Godspeed, wonderful bookshop, on your journey into the uncertain future,” Malcolm writes to Argosy, a family-owned holdout in gentrified Manhattan. She writes a eulogy for her friend Joseph Mitchell, the matchless chronicler of New York, and memorializes a long-running radio program she loved in her youth. Several pieces are bouquets to the artists she loves. Memoir has always bored Malcolm, but around the edges of these pieces a furtive autobiography takes shape — we see glimpses of her childhood; the world of her parents, Czech refugees; and how their tastes shaped her own.
Several pieces, however, particularly the short reviews, make for intimate but curiously unsatisfying reading. Revering Malcolm, as I do, I was at first confused. What has gone wrong? Even if her subjects bore you, she is never dull. As she wrote of Irving Penn, his portraits are Penns before they are photographs of his subjects. We read a piece by Malcolm for Malcolm — for the complicity she creates with the reader, the novelistic eye for gestures, the density of detail.
There is a clue to the source of this trouble in her profile of Wang, the celebrated pianist who has a taste for performing in skintight dresses and spiked heels. Malcolm quotes The Times’s critic Zachary Woolfe on how these outfits produce a dramatic contrast between the body and the instrument — “It turns a recital into a performance.”
Criticism itself is a performance of a kind; this is why I suspect Malcolm is moved, and not just impressed, by Wang. But too often in this book we watch a powerful critic taking on targets that feel unworthy — not because they are small but because she does not elevate them or make a sufficient case for their importance. She flatters them instead, bathes them in adjectives.
She is rapturous on a book about email etiquette and, somehow, even more effusive about Alexander McCall Smith’s series “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”: “a literary confection of such gossamer deliciousness that one feels it can only be good for one. Fortunately, since texts aren’t cakes, there is no end to the pleasure that may be extracted from these six books.”
Then there is Rachel Maddow, the object of Malcolm’s most unabashed admiration. Maddow is “magnificent,” her powers of storytelling “inimitable.” Her cable news show is a “delicious experience,” “lucid and enthralling,” “TV entertainment at its finest.”
With all due respect to both Maddow and Malcolm, I started to feel a little insane.
Malcolm can praise well; she’s done so especially forcefully writing in favor of two books much maligned in their time: Norman Podhoretz’s memoir “Making It” and J.D. Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey.”
They are defenses, though, and that makes all the difference.
“Scratch a great photograph and find a painting (or painterly influence),” she once wrote. Scratch Malcolm’s nonfiction and find a 19th-century novel. Many of her best pieces hinge on bygone plot devices: a lost journal, a missing letter, a misheard word. She is the sleuth who divines the details, pieces the story together, restores order. But as her new book proves, there is no story — there is no hero — without, first, a worthy antagonist.B:
今期美女六肖图“【这】【是】.” 【那】【光】【芒】【越】【来】【越】【强】，【已】【是】【将】【林】【中】【点】【的】【如】【白】【昼】【一】【般】【明】【亮】，【不】【过】【最】【令】【楚】【枫】【惊】【愕】【的】【是】，【在】【他】【的】【四】【周】【竟】【出】【现】【了】【无】【数】【具】【白】【骨】。 **【的】【白】【骨】，【密】【密】【麻】【麻】【的】【堆】【积】【在】【林】【中】，【如】【海】【洋】【一】【般】，【无】【边】【无】【际】。 【并】【且】【这】【些】【白】【骨】【很】【特】【殊】，【不】【仅】【如】【玉】【一】【般】【洁】【白】，【且】【每】【具】【白】【骨】【之】【中】，【都】【在】【散】【发】【着】【逼】【人】【的】【气】【息】，【竟】【是】【威】【压】。 【当】
【太】【不】【要】【脸】【了】！ 【一】【边】【暗】【暗】【地】【利】【用】**【的】【人】【给】【他】【使】【畔】【子】，【一】【边】【强】【迫】【苏】【沐】，【苏】【沐】【一】【定】【是】【被】【迫】【的】。 【程】【爷】【的】【牛】【眼】【瞪】【得】【很】【大】，【一】【拍】【桌】【子】【就】【要】【翻】【脸】，【他】【的】【一】【个】【手】【下】【拉】【住】【了】【他】【小】【声】【地】【提】【醒】，“【程】【爷】，【苏】【小】【姐】【也】【不】【是】【您】【什】【么】【人】，【现】【在】【您】【办】【不】【了】【夜】【总】，【再】【说】【了】【他】【们】【本】【来】【就】【有】【一】【个】【儿】【子】，【您】【忘】【了】【今】【天】【来】【是】【办】【正】【事】【的】，【如】【果】【为】【了】【儿】【女】【私】【情】【坏】
【白】【家】【小】【幺】【的】【番】【外】 【白】【家】【老】【太】【爷】【过】【寿】，【那】【可】【是】【热】【闹】【了】【整】【个】【长】【洲】，【当】【然】，【汉】【天】【首】【富】【的】【程】【家】【也】【在】【邀】【请】【在】【内】。 【程】【若】【尧】【为】【了】【来】【给】【老】【太】【爷】【祝】【寿】，【可】【是】【提】【前】【来】【了】【三】【天】，【最】【主】【要】【是】【来】【会】【一】【会】【这】【些】【本】【来】【应】【该】【在】【西】【陵】【却】【统】【统】【来】【到】【了】【长】【洲】【的】【旧】【友】。 【招】【待】【程】【若】【尧】【的】【地】【方】【选】【择】【在】【了】【玉】【宅】，【这】【是】【卫】【降】【祥】【的】【主】【意】。【对】【于】【白】【家】【和】【程】【家】，【卫】【降】【祥】【心】【里】
【夜】【空】【之】【上】， 【悬】【浮】【着】【一】【颗】【巨】【大】【的】【陨】【石】，【笼】【罩】【着】【方】【圆】【千】【里】【的】【天】【与】【地】，【震】【杀】【出】【世】【界】【末】【日】【般】【的】【恐】【怖】【威】【能】！ 【这】【样】【的】【画】【面】，【光】【是】【在】【脑】【海】【中】【想】【象】【一】【下】，【都】【足】【以】【令】【人】【倒】【吸】【凉】【气】，【头】【皮】【发】【麻】，【双】【腿】【发】【软】！ 【但】， 【令】【人】【最】【恐】【惧】【的】【却】【是】，【这】【颗】【从】【天】【而】【降】，【巨】【大】【无】【比】，【蕴】【含】【着】【惊】【世】【杀】【机】【的】【椭】【圆】【形】【陨】【石】，【竟】【然】，【被】【人】【用】【一】【道】【拳】【芒】【给】【贯】【穿】今期美女六肖图“【云】【母】？”【秦】【臻】【研】【究】【过】【很】【多】【族】【志】，【里】【面】【对】【云】【母】【的】【介】【绍】【都】【不】【是】【很】【多】，【她】【也】【是】【在】【找】【回】【云】【母】【后】【才】【慢】【慢】【了】【解】【几】【分】。 “【云】【母】【的】【神】【奇】，【不】【是】【常】【理】【能】【解】【释】【的】。【云】【母】【依】【附】【我】【族】【的】【同】【时】，【给】【我】【们】【带】【来】【了】【巨】【大】【的】【力】【量】，【还】【有】。。”【文】【楠】【说】【着】，【回】【头】【看】【着】【梦】【云】【兮】。 【秦】【臻】【跟】【着】【看】【过】【去】，【只】【见】【她】【身】【上】【发】【出】【淡】【淡】【的】【光】【芒】，“【这】【是】？？？”
【听】【着】【丁】【羽】【的】【说】【话】，【王】【庄】【微】【微】【的】【倒】【吸】【了】【一】【口】【冷】【气】！【自】【己】【好】【像】【感】【悟】【到】【了】【什】【么】！ 【一】【名】【医】【生】【不】【喝】【酒】，【是】【因】【为】【有】【着】【相】【当】【的】【职】【业】【操】【守】，【武】【者】【不】【喝】【酒】，【因】【为】【什】【么】？【怕】【控】【制】【不】【住】【自】【己】【的】【血】【气】？【军】【人】【不】【喝】【酒】？【又】【是】【因】【为】【什】【么】？【因】【为】【有】【着】【规】【定】【和】【原】【则】？！ 【但】【这】【里】【面】【所】【表】【述】【的】【含】【义】【连】【贯】【的】【看】【起】【来】，【有】【那】【么】【一】【些】【不】【太】【对】【劲】！【至】【少】【不】【符】【合】【现】【在】
【雪】【花】【飘】【飘】，【银】【装】【素】【裹】，【墨】【都】【迎】【来】【了】【今】【年】【冬】【天】【第】【一】【场】【雪】。 【住】【在】【墨】【都】【的】【人】【来】【说】，【这】【场】【雪】【来】【的】【有】【点】【突】【然】。 【冷】【清】【的】【街】【道】【只】【有】【零】【零】【散】【散】【的】【几】【人】，【除】【了】【偶】【尔】【路】【过】【的】【警】【卫】【巡】【逻】【的】【队】【伍】，【不】【管】【那】【条】【大】【街】【上】【都】【只】【有】【寥】【寥】【几】【人】，【跟】【昔】【日】【墨】【都】【的】【繁】【华】【是】【无】【法】【比】【拟】【的】。 【从】【三】【皇】【子】【婚】【礼】【上】【发】【生】【皇】【宫】【爆】【炸】，【然】【后】【三】【皇】【子】【登】【基】【再】【到】【大】【皇】【子】【攻】【入】
“【风】【兄】，【那】【追】【风】【兄】【弟】【怎】【么】【绕】【到】【我】【们】【前】【面】【去】【的】？【莫】【不】【是】【敌】【人】【发】【现】【了】【我】【们】【的】【意】【图】？”【雨】【长】【老】【有】【些】【担】【忧】【地】【说】【道】。 【风】【长】【老】【听】【了】【雨】【长】【老】【的】【话】【后】，【他】【向】【四】【周】【看】【了】【看】。【他】【感】【觉】【到】【敌】【人】【的】【确】【有】【了】【很】【大】【的】【变】【化】。【之】【前】，【敌】【人】【只】【是】【简】【单】【的】【尾】【随】。【估】【计】【他】【们】【是】【在】【等】【我】【们】【丧】【失】【战】【力】【之】【后】，【再】【对】【我】【们】【发】【动】【最】【后】【一】【击】。 【如】【今】，【敌】【人】【明】【显】【是】【改】【等】【为】