Janet Flanner: “She wrote about how public political news affected private lives”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of journalist Janet Flanner. Her first “Letter from Paris” appeared in The New Yorker in October 1925, and she continued writing it for 50 years. It became a biweekly feature of the magazine in which she wrote about how public political news affected private lives….

She wrote slowly and painstakingly, spending four of five 12-hour days on a 2,500-word letter. She said, “I keep going over a sentence. I nag it, gnaw it, pat and flatter it.”

Her letters were witty, elegant, and humorous, which suited well the New Yorker style. She also wrote many profiles, including ones of Hitler, Queen Mary of England, Isadora Duncan, Matisse, Picasso, Edith Wharton, and Dr. Thomas Mann, many of which were collected in An American in Paris: Profile of an Interlude Between Two Wars. She wrote one novel, Cubical City, published a few books of essays — including London Was Yesterday — and translated several French books into English.

She said, “I act as a sponge. I soak it up and squeeze it out in ink every two weeks.”

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