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Bard Professor Daniel Mendelsohn Named Finalist For 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism
Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
Waiting for the Barbarians brings together 24 of Mendelsohn’s recent essays—each one glinting with “verve and sparkle,” “acumen and passion”—on a wide range of subjects, from Avatar to the poems of Arthur Rimbaud, from our inexhaustible fascination with the Titanic to Susan Sontag’s Journals. The essays move easily from penetrating considerations of the ways in which the classics continue to make themselves felt in contemporary life and letters (Greek myth in the Spider-Man musical; Anne Carson’s translations of Sappho) to trenchant takes on pop spectacles—none more explosively controversial than his dissection of Mad Men. In its review of the new collection, The New York Times Book Review hailed Mendelsohn’s work: “Hold tight to your convictions while reading Daniel Mendelsohn lest you absorb his own. You’ll want to. They’re always more deeply considered, generous in spirit, fresher and funnier than yours…Mendelsohn just might be our most irresistible literary critic.”
Daniel Mendelsohn was born on Long Island and educated at the University of Virginia and Princeton University. Since 1991 his essays and reviews have appeared in many publications, most frequently in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. He has also been the weekly book critic for New York and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, and is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure. Mendelsohn’s The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, published by HarperCollins in 2006, is an international bestseller and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography and the National Jewish Book Award. It won the Prix Médicis in France, among other honors, and has been published in more than 15 languages. Other books include a memoir, The Elusive Embrace (1999), a New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; a previous collection of reviews, How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken (2008), a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; and an acclaimed two-volume translation of the poetry of C. P. Cavafy (2009), also a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Mendelsohn’s other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Book Reviewing, and the George Jean Nathan Prize for Drama Criticism.
About the National Book Critics Circle
The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) was founded in 1974 at New York’s legendary Algonquin Hotel by a group of the most influential critics of the day, and awarded its first set of honors the following year. Comprising some 500 working critics and book-review editors throughout the country, the NBCC annually bestows its awards in six categories, honoring the best books published in the past year in the United States. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the publishing industry. The finalists for the NBCC awards are nominated, evaluated, and selected by the 24-member board of directors, which consists of critics and editors from some of the country’s leading newspapers and magazines.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Daniel Mendelsohn, award-winning author, critic, and Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College since 2006, has been named a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism for his most recent book, Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture (New York Review Books).
PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Mendelsohn
This event was last updated on 01-23-2013