An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus

Author(s): William Todd Schultz

Biography & Memoir

Diane Arbus was one of the most brilliant and revered photographers in the history of American art. Her portraits, in stark black and white, seemed to reveal the psychological truths of their subjects. But after she committed suicide at the age of forty-eight in 1971, the presumed chaos and darkness of her own inner life became, for many viewers, inextricable from her work. In the spirit of Janet Malcolm's classic examination of Sylvia Plath, The Silent Woman, William Todd Schultz's An Emergency in Slow Motion reveals the creative and personal struggles of Diane Arbus. Schultz veers from traditional biography to interpret Arbus's life through the prism of four central mysteries: her outcast affinity, her sexuality, the secrets she kept and shared, and her suicide. An Emergency in Slow Motion combines new revelations and breathtaking insights into a must-read psychobiography about a monumental artist - the first new look at Arbus in twenty-five years.


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"A sensitive but deeply provocative psychobiography." -

Exceptional prose, illuminating psychological theory, and the visceral memories of those who knew her add up to a haunting portrait of Arbus as a tenacious and quixotic artist whose outre photographs blaze on in all their strange romance, protest, and longing. Booklist Schultz is a sharp, lucid writer... He proceeds with a sense of reflection, perspective, and nuance. A biography that wisely recognizes the ultimate mystery of every life. Kirkus He eschews the typical biography and in doing so, illuminates his nebulous subject better than any biographer before him. Brooklyn Rail

William Todd Schultz is a professor of psychology at Pacific University in Oregon, focusing on personality research and psychobiography. He edited and contributed to the groundbreaking Handbook of Psychobiography, and curates the book series Inner Lives, analyses of significant artists and political figures. His own book in the series, Tiny Terror, examines the life of Truman Capote. Schultz blogs for and lives in Portland, Oregon. Torment Saint, a biography of Elliott Smith, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury.

General Fields

  • : 9781608197552
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Bloomsbury Press
  • : November 2013
  • : United States
  • : January 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : William Todd Schultz
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 770.92
  • : 256