Daniel Mendelsohn

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Daniel Mendelsohn
Daniel Mendelsohn 2011 NBCC Awards 2012 Shankbone.jpg
Born Daniel Adam Mendelsohn
1960 (age 53–54)
Long Island, New York, U.S.A.
Occupation Author, essayist, critic, translator
Nationality American
Genre Criticism, Non-fiction, memoir
Subject Holocaust, Judaism, classics, Cavafy, literature, film, theater
Website
www.danielmendelsohn.com

Daniel Mendelsohn (born 1960) is an American author, essayist, critic, and translator.

Life and career[edit]

Mendelsohn was born on Long Island and raised in the town of Old Bethpage, New York. He attended the University of Virginia from 1978 to 1982 as an Echols Scholar, graduating with a B.A. summa cum laude in Classics. From 1982 to 1985, he resided in New York City, working as an assistant to an opera impresario, Joseph A. Scuro.[1] In March 1985 Mendelsohn returned to Charlottesville, VA, to prepare for graduate school, and lived there until he began his graduate work in Classics at Princeton University the following year. He received his M.A. in 1989 and his Ph.D. in 1994. His dissertation, later published as a scholarly monograph by Oxford University Press, was on Euripidean tragedy.

Mendelsohn began contributing reviews, Op-Eds, and essays to such publications as QW, New York Times, The Nation, and The Village Voice in 1991, while still a graduate student; after completing his Ph.D. in 1994, he moved to New York City and began writing full-time. Since then his review-essays on books, films, theater and television have appeared frequently in a number of major publications, most often in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books; others include The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Esquire, The Paris Review, and The New Republic. Between 2000 and 2002 he was the weekly book critic for New York Magazine, and between 1996 and 2006 his reviews appeared frequently in The New York Times Book Review. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes and honors both in the United States and abroad; apart from awards for individual books, these include a Guggenheim Fellowship for a translation of Cavafy's "Unfinished" poems, with commentary; the National Book Critics Circle Award Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Book Reviewing (2000); and the George Jean Nathan Prize for Drama Criticism (2002).

Mendelsohn's academic speciality was Greek (especially Euripidean) tragedy; he also published scholarly articles about Roman poetry and Greek religion. From 1994 to 2002, he was a part-time Lecturer in the Classics department at Princeton University. Currently, he holds the Charles Ranlett Flint Chair in Humanities at Bard College, where he teaches one course each semester on literary subjects. In April 2008, he was the Richard Holbrooke Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany. In the Spring of 2010, he was a Critic-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

Mendelsohn, who is gay, is one of five siblings. His brothers include film director Eric Mendelsohn and Matt Mendelsohn, a photographer; his sister, Jennifer Mendelsohn, is also a journalist.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

Books and other writings[edit]

Mendelsohn is the author of seven books:

  • The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity, a memoir entwining themes of gay identity, family history, and Classical myth and literature, was published in 1999 by Alfred A. Knopf, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. It was published in a French translation as L'étreinte fugitive by Flammarion in January, 2009.
  • Gender and the City in Euripides' Political Plays, a scholarly study of Greek tragedy, published by Oxford University Press in 2002, with a paperback edition published in 2005.
  • The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (2006), the story of the author's worldwide search over five years to learn about the fates of relatives who perished in the Holocaust. It has been optioned for film adaptation by Ed Pressman Productions, with writer-director Oren Moverman slated to adapt and direct.
  • How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken, a collection of essays on literature and the arts, mostly from The New York Review of Books, was published in August, 2008 and named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2008.
  • C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems and C. P. Cavafy: The Unfinished Poems, published simultaneously in March 2009. Mendelsohn's Cavafy translation was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and was shortlisted for the Criticos Prize. The two-volume hardcover edition was published as a single-volume paperback by Vintage Books in May 2012.
  • Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture, a second collection of essays, covering movies, theater, opera, poetry, fiction, and memoir, mostly from The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, was published by New York Review Books in October, 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Astri von Arbin Ahlander (2011-06-27). “Interview with Daniel Mendelsohn”. The Days of Yore. http://www.thedaysofyore.com/daniel-mendelsohn/ Retrieved 2012-01-19
  2. ^ Scott Foundas (2010-01-21). "3 Backyards: Secrets and Insides - Page 2 - Film+TV - Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-07. "Mendelsohn was born in 1964 in Old Bethpage, Long Island, the fourth of five children of a scientist father (who designed target-recognition technology for F14 aircraft at Grumman Aerospace) and teacher mother. His siblings include a photographer, a physicist, journalist Jennifer Mendelsohn and critic and author Daniel Mendelsohn, whose best-selling, Holocaust-themed memoir, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, is currently being developed as a film by Jean-Luc Godard." 
  3. ^ John Williams (January 14, 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.pen.org/content/pendiamonstein-spielvogel-award-art-essay-10000

External links[edit]