Books

Toward a Unified Theory of Joan Didion

slate.com – Christian Lorentzen

“Self-absorption is general, as is self-doubt.” That’s the first line of Joan Didion’s 1979 broadside on Woody Allen. The sentence unites her ostensible target, Allen, the audiences that were lining up to see his films, and the Zeitgeist of which both seemed, like real linen and vegetarianism and not smoking (then a novelty), to be essential parts. In the New York Review of Books letters page, three Allen partisans shot back at Didion, and she issued a two-word reply: “Oh, wow.” None of them had suggested that Didion belonged to the class she was deriding, but in hindsight, of course, she did.

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