• Charles Arrowsmith

Review: Ecstasy and Terror by Daniel Mendelsohn (Washington Post)


"In an interview in 'The 50 Year Argument,' Martin Scorsese’s 2014 documentary about the New York Review of Books, Daniel Mendelsohn says that writers want editors who know more than they do. For him and countless others, that editor was Robert Silvers, who ran the Review for more than five decades until his death in 2017, publishing work by a flamboyantly talented menagerie: Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Noam Chomsky, Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Gore Vidal.


"Earlier this year, following a period of editorial turmoil that culminated in the abrupt departure of Silvers’s successor, Ian Buruma, the Review announced that Mendelsohn would fill the new role of editor-at-large alongside co-editors Emily Greenhouse and Gabriel Winslow-Yost. The appointment seems shrewd. Pitched in age between Silvers and the 30-something co-editors, Mendelsohn, who has contributed to the Review for almost 20 years, can presumably bridge consciousness during this time of change; respectful of the past but forward-looking, he will, it’s hoped, shepherd the Review into another half-century of intellectual combat."


For my full review of Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones (New York Review Books, 2019), by Daniel Mendelsohn, visit The Washington Post.

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