Michael Dirda


Michael Dirda, a weekly book columnist for The Washington Post, received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He is the author of the memoir An Open Book and of four collections of essays: Readings, Bound to Please, Book by Book, and Classics for Pleasure. His most recent book, On Conan Doyle, received a 2012 Edgar Award for best critical/biographical work of the year.
 Dirda graduated with Highest Honors in English from Oberlin College and earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature (medieval studies and European romanticism) from Cornell University. He is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, the online Barnes & Noble Review, and several other periodicals, as well as a frequent lecturer and an occasional college teacher.

See NYRB titles related to this contributor.

  • Pirates!

    September 11, 2014

    What we admire in pirates—at least our fictional pirates—is that they so enjoy their villainy.

  • A Stylized Sherlock

    January 22, 2014

    At the end of the second season of Sherlock, the great detective (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), in an act of heroic self-sacrifice, apparently plunged to his death from the roof of St. Bart’s Hospital. Or did he?

  • Sherlock Lives!

    February 2, 2012

    It’s been a particularly busy season for admirers of the world’s first and greatest consulting detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street. The BBC Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, as Holmes and Watson, brilliantly translates the stories into the present. while in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the sequel to the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law continue their transformation of the Victorian duo into gritty, steampunk action heroes. And then there is the annual meeting of the Baker Street Irregulars, that mysterious literary and dining club, whose members believe that Sherlock Holmes actually lived; his friend Dr. John H. Watson recorded actual historical events; and Arthur Conan Doyle merely served as Watson’s literary agent.