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How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken


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About the Author

Daniel Mendelsohn a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker, is the author of the international bestseller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. He teaches at Bard College.


One could easily argue that these essays by Mendelsohn (The Lost) are a critic's criticism. Trained as a classicist, with graduate work in Latin and Greek, he states that he is more interested in writing about popular-culture interpretations of classical texts than about the actual classics. His breadth is quite impressive; he tackles female characters in the work of Pedro AlmodUvar, the HBO series Angels in America, and the films The Hours, Kill Bill: Volume I, Brokeback Mountain, World Trade Center, United 93, and more. Within a theater section, he examines The Producers, Private Lives, and recent stagings of classic Greek dramas in New York. Mendelsohn's writing is bold; he is not afraid to be in the minority, for example, when he offers a searing treatment of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones in the sarcastically titled "Novel of the Year." Entertaining, thought-provoking, and often controversial, this book is not for the masses but for those who find pleasure in diving into literary criticism. Recommended for large academic and public libraries.--Stacy Russo, Chapman Univ. Libs., Orange, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"An elegant collection of essays... Mendelsohn reveals intellectual breadth in his ability to draw on his training as a classicist to look at contemporary culture... These essays richly repay the time readers spend in their company." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Brilliant... Masterful... Wise, funny... A wonderful collection." -- Time Out New York "Mendelsohn takes on contemporary culture with humor and incisive analysis." -- The New York Sun

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