Daphne Merkin

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Daphne Miriam Merkin (born 30 May 1954 in New York City) is an American literary critic, essayist and novelist. Merkin is a graduate of Barnard College and also attended Columbia University's graduate program in English literature.[1]

She began her career as a book critic for the magazines Commentary,[1] The New Republic, and The New Leader, where she wrote a book column and later, a movie column.[1] In 1986, she became an editor with the publishing house of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. In 1997, after Tina Brown became editor of The New Yorker, Merkin became a film critic for the magazine. She also wrote extensively on books and became known for her frank forays into autobiography; her personal essays dealt with subjects ranging from her battle with depression, to her predilection for spanking,[2] 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)[1] as well as two collections of essays, Dreaming of Hitler (1997)[3] and The Fame Lunches (2014).[4] and a memoir, This Close to Happy: A Reckoning With Depression (2017).[5]

Her parents were the philanthropists Hermann and Ursula Merkin. Her brother is J. Ezra Merkin, a hedge fund manager and philanthropist who was embroiled in the Bernard Madoff scandal.[6]

Merkin teaches writing at the 92nd Street Y.[7] She married and divorced Michael Brod, and lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her daughter, Zoe. She also is a contributing editor to Tablet magazine.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Joel Shatzky, Michael Taub (1997). Contemporary Jewish-American novelists: a bio-critical sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 216–222. ISBN 9780313294624. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  2. ^ Merkin, Daphne (February 26, 1996). "Unlikely Obsession". The New Yorker. p. 98. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  3. ^ "Sneak Peeks: Dreaming of Hitler," Salon, June 10, 1997
  4. ^ "Kirkus Review, July 2014 Issue" Kirkus, June 12, 2014
  5. ^ Solomon, Andrew (January 30, 2017). "Diving Into Hell: A Powerful Memoir of Depression". The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Behind a Byline, Family Ties," New York Times, April 11, 2009
  7. ^ "A Voice of One's Own ," 92y.org[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Tablet Magazine

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