Daphne Merkin

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Daphne Merkin

Daphne Miriam Merkin (born 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 latest novel, 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love (2020),[6] came out in July 2020.

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 Bernie Madoff scandal.[7]

Merkin teaches writing at the 92nd Street Y.[8] 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.[9]


  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 July 19, 2010.
  2. ^ Merkin, Daphne (February 26, 1996). "Unlikely Obsession". The New Yorker. p. 98. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  3. ^ Kurth, Peter (June 10, 1997). "Sneak Peeks". Salon. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  4. ^ "The Fame Lunches | Kirkus Reviews" Kirkus. June 12, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  5. ^ Solomon, Andrew (January 30, 2017). "Diving Into Hell: A Powerful Memoir of Depression". The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "22 Minutes of Unconditional Love | Daphne Merkin". us.macmillan.com. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Hoyt, Clark (April 11, 2009). "Behind a Byline, Family Ties". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  8. ^ "A Voice of One's Own ," 92y.org[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "About Us". Tablet. Retrieved August 4, 2022.

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