Daniel Mendelsohn

Daniel Mendelsohn, photo by Matt Mendelsohn
Daniel Mendelsohn, photo by Matt Mendelsohn

Daniel Mendelsohn is an award-winning author, critic, essayist, and translator. Trained as a classicist at the University of Virginia and Princeton University, he is a prolific contributor of essays, reviews, and articles to many publications, particularly the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. He has also been a columnist for BBC Worldwide, the New York Times Book ReviewHarper’s, and New York Magazine, where he was the weekly book critic.

His books include An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction and named a best book of the year by NPR, Newsday, Library Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, and Kirkus Reviews; the international bestseller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Jewish Book Award in the United States and the Prix Médicis in France, among many other honors; The Elusive Embrace, a memoir that was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times; two collections of essays; a scholarly study of Greek tragedy; and a two-volume translation of the poetry of C. P. Cavafy, which included the first English translation of the poet’s “Unfinished Poems.”

Mendelsohn’s honors include the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (for prose style), a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. He has been elected to both the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Mendelsohn lives in the Hudson Valley and teaches literature at Bard College.


selected bibliography

An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn
An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (2017)
Waiting for the Barbarians by Daniel Mendelsohm
Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture (2012)
The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn
The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million (2006)
The Elusive Embrace by Daniel Mendelsohn
The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity (1999)

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online resources

Daniel Mendelsohn’s website
“A father and son sail through Homer’s Odyssey Together,” book review in the New York Times, September 18, 2017
“A father’s final odyssey,” excerpt in the New Yorker, April 24, 2017
An interview with Mendelsohn in Prospect, December 5, 2013

Video: JCCSF Interview with Mendelsohn