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Daniel Mendelsohn: A Critical Odyssey


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What do readers want from critical voices? And what does it mean to judge the art of others? Daniel Mendelsohn is a formidable and impassioned critic – best known for his essays published over many years in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books – and his new book is itself a masterclass in cultural criticism.

The Bad Boy of Athens: Classics from the Greeks to Game of Thrones brings together some of Mendelsohn’s finest published essays, on subjects ranging from Euripides and Virgil to Hanya Yanagihara and George R. R. Martin. Mendelsohn’s training as a scholar of classical antiquity is never far from the surface, illuminating contemporary questions – of artificial intelligence, terrorism and popular culture, for example – in startling and entertaining ways.

For Mendelsohn, the craft of criticism is always a creative act, alive with its own dramas and tensions. He’ll discuss his critical odyssey in April.


Daniel Mendelsohn

Daniel Mendelsohn is the Editor-at-Large of the New York Review of Books and an award-winning memoirist, critic, essayist and translator. A longtime contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review, he has also been a columnist on books, film, TV, and culture for BBC Culture, New York, Harper... Read more


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