The Novel, Who Needs It?


Product Details

$25.99  $24.17
Encounter Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.6 X 0.9 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Joseph Epstein is the author of thirty-one books, among them books on divorce, ambition, snobbery, friendship, envy, and gossip. He has published seventeen collections of essays and four books of short stories. He has been the editor of the American Scholar, the intellectual quarterly of Phi Beta Kappa, and for thirty years he taught in the English Department at Northwestern University. He has written for the New Yorker, Commentary, the New Criterion, Times Literary Supplement, Claremont Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, Poetry, and other magazines both in the United States and abroad.


"If Epstein's ultimate master is Montaigne, his more immediate master is Mencken. Like Mencken, he has fashioned a style that successfully combines elegance and even bookishness with street-smart colloquial directness. And there is nothing remote or aloof about him." --John Gross"[Joseph Epstein's] work is well in the Addisonian line of succession that [Cyril] Connolly saw petering out in Punch and the professional humorists. . . Epstein is a great deal more sophisticated than they were, and a great deal more readable. His subjects are tossed up, turned round, stuck with quotations, abandoned, returned to, playfully inverted, and finally set back on their feet, as is the reader, a little breathless but quite unharmed. But it is essentially a merry-go-round, not a view to death."--Philip Larkin"The modern essay has regained a good deal of its literary status in our time, much to the credit of Joseph Epstein."--Karl Shapiro"Joseph Epstein's essays no more need his identifying byline than Van Gogh's paintings need his signature. Epstein's style--call it learned whimsy--is unmistakable; for Epstein addicts, indispensable."--George Will"Joseph Epstein is an essayist in the brilliant tradition of Charles Lamb. He moves so effortlessly from the amusingly personal to the broadly philosophical that it takes a moment before you realize how far out in the intellectual cosmos you have been taken. He is also mercilessly free of the petty intellectual etiquettes common at this moment in our national letters. It is refreshing to hear so independent a voice."--Tom Wolfe