Daphne Merkin  

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"Sadism, in literature, is a discipline. It encourages an author to whip himself and his characters (women, usually) into an erotic lather while punishing the reader with ingenious inquiries into the soul of man. Some women, among other sensitive readers, distrust this literary practice. Other readers, women and men, hear in the literature of sadism not so much the shrieks of horror as a celebration of nihilism, which can intermittently transform itself into a ritual of transcendence. Assaults or celebrations, however one reads them, Spanking the Maid by Robert Coover and Virginie by John Hawkes are extensions of the canon of sadism." --Alan Friedman[1].

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Daphne Merkin (born May 30, 1954, in New York City) is a Jewish American literary critic, essayist and novelist. She began her career as a book critic for Commentary Magazine, The New Republic, and The New Leader, where she wrote a book column and later, a movie column. In 1986, she became an editor with the publishing house of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. In 1997, after Tina Brown took over The New Yorker, Merkin became a film critic for the magazine. She also wrote extensively on books and became known for her frank and lyrical forays into autobiography; her personal essays tackled subjects ranging from her battle with depression, to her predilection for spanking, to the unacknowledged complexities of growing up rich on Park Avenue. In 2005, she joined The New York Times Magazine, as a contributing writer. She is the author of a novel, "Enchantment," (1984) as well as a collection of essays, "Dreaming of Hitler" (1997). Her father Hermann Merkin (d.1999) greatly encouraged her throughout her career.

Merkin is a graduate of Barnard College. She also attended Columbia University's graduate program in English literature. She teaches writing at the 92nd Street Y. She married and divorced Michael Brod, and lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her daughter, Zoe.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Daphne Merkin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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