New Republic critic to discuss ‘the art of biography’

Jed Perl, American art critic for The New Republic, will speak at Yale on Thursday, Nov. 6 as a Poynter Fellow in Journalism.

Perl will give a talk titled “Biographical Enigmas: Hard Facts, Soft Facts, and the Art of Biography” at 4 p.m. in Rm. 103 of Linsly Chittenden Hall, 63 High St.  The event is free and open to the public.

Before joining The New Republic staff, Perl was a contributing editor to Vogue for 10 years, and he has also written for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, Harper’s, The New Criterion, The Threepenny Review, The Yale Review, Salmagundi, and many other publications.

He is also a prodigious author. Among his many books are “Antoine’s Alphabet: Watteau and His World,” “Eyewitness: Reports from an Art World in Crisis,” and “New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century,” which was a 2005 New York Times Notable Book. Additionally, Perl is currently working on the first full-length biography of the sculptor Alexander Calder, to be published by Knopf.

Perl’s work as a critic has been much admired. Poet John Asbery called him “an almost solitary, essential voice.” A review in The Atlantic of his collection of essays “Magicians and Charlatans” observed that Perl “may be the finest American critic at work today in any field.”

Perl has been the recipient of numerous awards as well, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy in Rome, the Leon Levy Biography Center at the City University of New York, and the Ingram-Merrill Foundation. He has appeared on “Charlie Rose,” “The McNeil Lehrer News Hour,” and CNN, as well as National Public Radio; and he is a visiting professor of liberal studies at The New School in New York City, where he lives.

The Poynter Fellowship in Journalism was established by Nelson Poynter, who received his master’s degree in 1927 from Yale. The fellowship brings to campus journalists from a wide variety of media outlets who have made significant contributions to their field. Among recent Poynter fellows are Natalie Jackson, Seymour Hersh, and Claudia La Rocco.

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