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What Can You Know?

Adam Phillips: Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost, 26 April 2007

The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million 
by Daniel Mendelsohn.
Harper, 512 pp., £25, April 2007, 978 0 00 725193 3
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... of the past. The important thing here – and in all forms of history writing which, like Daniel Mendelsohn’s, have been affected by Freud – is not that everything is ‘reduced’ to sexuality, but that everything is subsumed by memory: desire for the past has all the urgency and ingenuity once accorded to sexuality. Sexuality matters ...


Christian Lorentzen: ‘American Dirt’, 20 February 2020

... such as Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch). The reviews of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life by Daniel Mendelsohn and myself (LRB, 24 September 2015) are sometimes cited. If the reviews are good but sales are poor, it’s the audience that has failed. The notion that blockbuster success often involves artistic compromise has been conveniently ...

All the world’s a spy novel

Michael Wood: What Didn’t Happen, 30 July 2020

Counterfactuals: Paths of the Might Have Been 
by Christopher Prendergast.
Bloomsbury, 257 pp., £19.99, February 2019, 978 1 350 09009 5
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Telling It Like It Wasn’t: The Counterfactual Imagination in History and Fiction 
by Catherine Gallagher.
Chicago, 359 pp., £26.50, January 2018, 978 0 226 51241 9
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... the road (although he doesn’t know it) that will lead him to kill his father in a fit of what Daniel Mendelsohn calls road rage. The second, trying to resolve the deep divisions within himself, decides to try the Sortes Virgilianae not with Virgil’s text but with Augustine’s Confessions. And the third … This is the most elaborate instance in ...

Professor or Pinhead

Stephanie Burt: Anne Carson, 14 July 2011

by Anne Carson.
New Directions, 192 pp., £19.99, April 2010, 978 0 8112 1870 2
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... fourth is the single word ‘youth’. This Sappho drew a reasonable objection from the classicist Daniel Mendelsohn in the New York Review of Books, who attacked its reliance on white space, on aura. The Sappho of the best-known surviving stanzas was a poet, a singer, whose work Carson tried to re-create, but the Sappho in much of If Not, Winter was (he ...

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