Edward Mendelson


Edward Mendelson is the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and the literary executor of the estate of W.H. Auden. He is the author of Early Auden, Later Auden, and The Things That Matter, a volume of essays on Mary Shelley, Emily and Charlotte Brönte, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf. His Moral Agents: Eight Twentieth-Century American Writers will be published in early 2015.

See NYRB titles related to this contributor.

  • Escape from Microsoft Word

    October 21, 2014

    The word processor that most of the world uses every day, Microsoft Word, is a work of genius that’s almost always wrong as an instrument for writing prose.

  • Pynchon's Mrs. Dalloway

    September 27, 2013

    In tone, setting, character, and incident, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is a world away from Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, but both books describe a lonely and reluctant quest for meanings that can never be obvious.

  • Faith and Works at Apple

    July 17, 2013

    As everyone knows, the world-religion of the educated and prosperous in the twenty-first century is Apple, with its Vatican in Cupertino and its cathedrals in the light-filled Apple Stores that draw pilgrims gripping iPhones and iPads like rosaries.

  • The Human Face of Type

    August 4, 2011

    For me, as for many other people who care about type, a typeface should be personal and expressive, like a human face. For others, type should be an impersonal machine for transmitting data. Each group favors different styles of type. When the documentary film Helvetica appeared a few years ago, I didn’t rush to see it, because, as someone says in the film, Helvetica is “the most neutral typeface,” the one with the least appeal to those whose feelings about type are tangled up with their feelings about people.