Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, California in 1934, and graduated
from the University of California at Berkeley in 1956. She is the author of five
novels and eight books of non-fiction. Her 1968 collection of essays,
Slouching Toward Bethlehem and her book, The White Album (1979), made
her famous as an observer of American politics and culture with a distinctive
style that mixed personal reflection with social analysis. In 2001 she published
Political Fictions which targeted political conservatives with pieces
aimed at Newt Gingrich and the Religious Right. This was a radical shift from
her earlier writing which had ridiculed various aspects of liberalism. She
attributed her shift in opinion to the Republican Party's own shift away from
the values of an earlier generation; specifically the values espoused by Barry
Goldwater, a five-term Senator from Arizona, and the Republican Presidential
candidate in 1964 (losing to Lyndon B Johnson). Goldwater was a founding figure
in the modern USA conservative movement and personified the shift in balance of
American culture from Northeast to West.
John Gregory Dunne (1932 - 2003), younger brother of author Dominick Dunne, worked as a journalist at Time magazine after graduating from Princeton University. Following their marriage in 1964, Joan and he collaborated on a number of screenplays including A Star Is Born (1976) and True Confessions (1981), adapted from his 1977 novel of the same name. He was a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books; many of his essays are collected in Quintana & Friends and Crooning. His twelfth book, a novel titled Nothing Lost, was published posthumously in 2004.
Quotes from Joan Didion
This article was originally published in November 2005, and has been updated for the
February 2007 paperback release.
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