Edward Mendelson is a professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is the literary executor of the Estate of W. H. Auden and the author or editor of several books about Auden's work, including Early Auden (1981) and Later Auden (1999). He is also the author of a book about nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels, The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life (2006).
He has edited standard editions of works by W. H. Auden, including Collected Poems (1976; 2nd edn. 1990; 3rd edn., 2007), The English Auden (1977), Selected Poems (1979, 2nd edn., 2007), As I Walked Out One Evening (selected light verse, 1995), and the continuing Complete Works of W. H. Auden (1986– ).
His work on Thomas Pynchon includes Pynchon: A Collection of Critical Essays (1978) and numerous essays, including "The Sacred, the Profane, and The Crying of Lot 49 (1975; reprinted in the 1978 collection) and "Gravity's Encyclopedia" (in Mindful Pleasures: Essays on Thomas Pynchon, ed. by David Leverenz and George Levine, 1976). The latter essay introduced the critical category of "encyclopedic narrative, further elaborated in a later essay, "Encyclopedic Narrative from Dante to Pynchon" (MLN, vol. 91, 1976).
He is the editor of annotated editions of novels by Thomas Hardy, George Meredith, Arnold Bennett, H. G. Wells, and Anthony Trollope. With Michael Seidel he co-edited Homer to Brecht; The European Epic and Dramatic Traditions (1977).
Before teaching at Columbia, he was an associate professor of English at Yale University and a visiting associate professor of English at Harvard University. He received a B.A. from the University of Rochester (1966) and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University (1969).
- (as editor) W. H. Auden. Collected Poems. Faber & Faber, 1976; Random House, 1976. Revised edition: Vintage Books, 1991; Faber & Faber, 1991; further revised edition: Modern Library, 2007; Faber & Faber 2007.
- (as co-editor) Homer to Brecht: The European Epic and Dramatic Traditions. Yale University Press, 1977. In collaboration with Michael Seidel.
- (as editor) Pynchon: A Collection of Critical Essays. Prentice‐Hall, 1978.
- (as editor) W. H. Auden. The English Auden: Poems, Essays and Dramatic Writings, 1927–1939. Faber & Faber, 1977; Random House, 1978.
- (as editor) W. H. Auden. Selected Poems: New Edition. Vintage Books, 1978; Faber & Faber, 1978; expanded edition: Vintage Books, 2007.
- Early Auden. Viking, 1981; Faber & Faber, 1981; revised paperback edition: Harvard University Press, 1983; Faber & Faber, 1999; Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000.
- (as editor) The Complete Works of W. H. Auden (five vols). Princeton University Press, 1986– ; Faber & Faber, 1986– .
- Later Auden. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999; Faber & Faber, 1999; revised paperback edition: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000.
- The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have To Say About the Stages of Life. Pantheon, 2006; with new afterword, Anchor Books, 2007.
- "The Sacred, the Profane, and The Crying of Lot 49". Individual and Community: Variations on a Theme in American Literature, ed. Kenneth H. Baldwin and David K. Kirby. Duke University Press, 1975; revised version in Pynchon: A Collection of Critical Essays (see above),
- "Gravity's Encyclopedia". Mindful Pleasures: Essays on Thomas Pynchon, ed. George Levine and David Leverenz. Little, Brown, 1976.
- "Encyclopedic Narrative, from Dante to Pynchon". MLN, 91 (December 1976).
- "The Word & the Web". New York Times Book Review, 2 June 1996.
- "Clarissa Dalloway Remembers Cymbeline". Lincoln Center Theater Review, Fall 2007.
- "Auden and God". New York Review of Books, 6 December 2007.
- "New York Everyman". New York Review of Books, 12 June 2008.
- "'What We Love, Not Are'" (on Frank O'Hara) New York Review of Books, 25 September 2008.
- "The Perils of His Magic Circle" (on William Maxwell). New York Review of Books, 29 April 2010.
- "The Obedient Bellow". New York Review of Books, 28 April 2011.
In Alexander McCall Smith's novel The Right Attitude to Rain (2006), the main character exchanges letters with Mendelson about W.H. Auden and Robert Burns, and he then appears in The Comfort of Saturdays (2007).
- "The Geography of His House".
- Davenport-Hines, Richard (1995). Auden. London: Heinemann. ISBN 0-434-17507-2.
- Mendelson, Edward (2006). The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life. New York: Pantheon. ISBN 0-375-42408-3.
- Jed Rasula. "Textual Indigence in the Archive".
- "Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature".
- "Isabel Dalhousie Fellowship".
- Contemporary Authors (Gale Research), vol. 65–68
- Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series (Gale Research), vols. 11, 87
- The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English, ed. by Jenny Stringer (1996)