Evelyn Barish is a professor at City University of New York's Graduate Center and its College of Staten Island, and the author of Emerson:The Roots of Prophecy, for which she won the Christian Gauss Award. She lives in New York City.
"The Double Life of Paul de Man revives the man and his fall. This time, we get a story of the professor not just as a young collaborator, but as a scheming careerist, an embezzler and forger who fled Belgium in order to avoid prison, a bigamist who abandoned his first three children, a deadbeat who left many rents and hotel bills unpaid, a liar who wormed his way into Harvard by falsifying records, a cynic who used people shamelessly... Compelling... Picaresque." -- Susan Rubin Suleiman - New York Times Book Review "In this stunning biography...readers will marvel at how successfully de Man hid his misdeeds behind the luminous persona of a brilliant critical theorist, repeatedly using the plausibility of past lies to leverage yet larger new prevarications...An astonishing expose." -- Bryce Christensen - Booklist, starred review "Evelyn Barish tells us exactly why Paul de Man, a pioneer of Theory, should have favoured notions about the impossibility of an objective narrative or a fixed personality. Viewed objectively, the narrative of his own life was the story of a cheat and a liar; and he made up his personality as he went along. Yet he fooled one high-level American college after another into treating him as a genius. This is one of the most daunting portraits of a literary charlatan since A.J.A. Symons wrote the life of Baron Corvo." -- Clive James, author of Cultural Amnesia& "A page-turner, The Double Life of Paul de Man is a brilliant piece of writing-dispassionate in its analysis, moving in its vision of a tortured man." -- Diane Jacobs, author of Dear Abigail: Th "A riveting biography of master confidence man Paul de Man (1919-1983), manipulator of the facts and influential literary instructor-a character both preposterous and irresistible... An extraordinary story of a complex personality presented with a wise dose of irony and respect." -- Kirkus Reviews, Starred review "[De Man's] story, the story of a concealed past, was almost too perfect a synecdoche for everything that made people feel puzzled, threatened, or angry about literary theory. Evelyn Barish's new biography, The Double Life of Paul de Man (Liveright), is an important update on the story... [Barish] has an amazing tale to tell. In her account, all guns are smoking... Fascinating." -- Louis Menand - The New Yorker "Impressively researched... Carefully documented... The story Barish tells is riveting. The de Man family closet was so packed with skeletons that they would have had to spill out into the living room." -- Robert Alter - New Republic "[A] painstaking and probing account... Ultimately, a mark of Barish's achievement is that, by the end of her story, de Man confounds and eludes us no less than he did his contemporaries." -- Robert Zaretsky - The American Scholar "Barish adds much to our knowledge of this brilliant intellectual counterfeit." -- David Lehman - The Wall Street Journal