FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD AND THE PEN ART OF THE ESSAY AWARDOver the past decade and a half, Daniel Mendelsohn's reviews forThe New York Review of Books,The New Yorker, andThe New York Times Book Reviewhave earned him a reputation as ';one of the greatest critics of our time' (Poets &Writers). InWaiting for the Barbarians, he brings together twenty-four of his recent essayseach one glinting with ';verve and sparkle,' ';acumen and passion'on a wide range of subjects, fromAvatarto the poems of Arthur Rimbaud, from our inexhaustible fascination with theTitanicto Susan Sontag'sJournals. Trained as a classicist, author of two internationally best-selling memoirs, Mendelsohn moves easily from penetrating considerations of the ways in which the classics continue to make themselves felt in contemporary life and letters (Greek myth in theSpider-Manmusical, Anne Carson's translations of Sappho) to trenchant takes on pop spectaclesnone more explosively controversial than his dissection ofMad Men.Also gathered here are essays devoted to the art of fiction, from Jonathan Littell's Holocaust blockbusterThe Kindly Onesto forgotten gems like the novels of Theodor Fontane. In a final section, ';Private Lives,' prefaced by Mendelsohn'sNew Yorkeressay on fake memoirs, he considers the lives and work of writers as disparate as Leo Lerman, Nol Coward, and Jonathan Franzen.Waiting for the Barbariansonce again demonstrates that Mendelsohn's ';sweep as a cultural critic is as impressive as his depth.'
Waiting for the Barbarians
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