Books by Joseph Epstein

JOSEPH EPSTEIN is the author of the best-selling Snobbery: The American Version, among other books, and was formerly editor of the American Scholar. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper"s Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, and other magazines. He


A LITERARY EDUCATION AND OTHER ESSAYS by Joseph Epstein
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: June 1, 2014

"Lots of erudition and bloody (right-ish) fun."
A curmudgeonly cultural critic collects a potpourri of his pieces from the past 30 years, most from Commentary and the Weekly Standard. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 7, 2013

"High-octane lit-chat served cold, heavy on the bitters."
Personal strangers and intellectual compadres discover they have a lot to complain about. Read full book review >
ESSAYS IN BIOGRAPHY by Joseph Epstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"Articulate, funny, informed and bitchy—guaranteed to both delight and disconcert."
The acclaimed essayist and former editor of the American Scholar presents a provocative collection of essays that illustrate the ways a writer can employ biographical detail. Read full book review >
GOSSIP by Joseph Epstein
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Dec. 1, 2011

The celebrated essayist anatomizes our sociocultural obsession with gossip, delineating the ways that it can bring people together as well as tear them apart.

Having previously devoted books to such universal human institutions as ambition, snobbery, envy and friendship, Epstein (The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff, 2010, etc.) dives headfirst into the often murky waters of that most reviled form of communication: gossip. Read full book review >

THE LOVE SONG OF A. JEROME MINKOFF by Joseph Epstein
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 14, 2010

"Epstein writes with intelligence, wit and flair—highly recommended. "
Achingly beautiful stories of growing old, searching for meaning and facing death. Read full book review >
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Sept. 6, 2007

"Anyone who quotes Bialystock instead of Derrida is our kind of guy. Who says fun has to be brainless?"
Having recently become a deliberative septuagenarian, prolific commentator Epstein (Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide, 2006, etc.) gathers another profusion of personal essays. Read full book review >
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Sept. 6, 2007

"Anyone who quotes Bialystock instead of Derrida is our kind of guy. Who says fun has to be brainless?"
Having recently become a deliberative septuagenarian, prolific commentator Epstein (Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide, 2006, etc.) gathers another profusion of personal essays. Read full book review >
ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE by Joseph Epstein
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 7, 2006

"A cogent and satisfying primer on the mind of the perspicacious Gallic theorist who discerned a new form of government in America."
Essayist Epstein (Friendship, 2006, etc.) presents his take on America's most quoted, least vexing Frenchman in this latest addition to the Eminent Lives series. Read full book review >
FRIENDSHIP by Joseph Epstein
Released: July 5, 2006

"As entertaining and illuminating as a leisurely lunch with a loquacious, literate friend."
Veteran essayist Epstein (Envy, 2003, etc.) uses his own relationships to illustrate observations about American friendships. Read full book review >
ENVY by Joseph Epstein
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

"Strangely comforting in its reassurance that the reader is not alone in being a petty SOB."
Career essayist Epstein wields a nimble pen in this consideration of the "most pervasive" mortal sin. Read full book review >
FABULOUS SMALL JEWS by Joseph Epstein
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 7, 2003

"A mixed second collection (after The Goldin Boys, 1991), but, on the whole, Epstein's most successful foray into fiction yet."
Literary influence suffuses, and intermittently cramps, the 17 nonetheless very readable stories from the former American Scholar editor and cultural critic (Snobbery, 2002, etc.). Read full book review >
SNOBBERY by Joseph Epstein
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: July 9, 2002

"By a snob, of snobs, and for snobs: a nice example of the art of the essay."
Clever, prolific Epstein (Narcissus Leaves the Pool, 1999, etc.) turns his wit to the pernicious, universal failing previously addressed by such worthies as Edith Wharton, Tom Wolfe, Russell Lynes, and even Father Mencken, among countless others. Read full book review >
NARCISSUS LEAVES THE POOL by Joseph Epstein
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: May 14, 1999

The latest collection of quasi-autobiographical "familiar essays" by Epstein (Pertinent Players: Essays on the Literary Life, 1993, etc.) offers the pleasures of smart faculty-party conversation. Read full book review >

Released: Oct. 1, 1997

Epstein (Pertinent Players, 1993, etc.) delivers literary appreciations and depreciations of an eclectic set of members of the Republic of Letters. In his fourth collection of literary essays, Epstein knowledgeably displays his affinity for the old school of bare-knuckles criticism as practiced by H.L. Mencken and Edmund Wilson. Read full book review >

WITH MY TROUSERS ROLLED by Joseph Epstein
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: April 1, 1995

Epstein's (Pertinent Players, 1993, etc.) fifth collection of familiar essays, all drawn from his quarterly column in the magazine he edits (The American Scholar), maintains his high standards of honesty and amiability. Approaching sixty, this self-described old fogy strikes a cheerfully elegiac note in these admittedly solipsistic pieces. Read full book review >

THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 1993 by Joseph Epstein
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Nov. 3, 1993

``The style of the essayist is that of an extremely intelligent, highly commonsensical person talking, without stammer and with impressive coherence, to him- or herself and to anyone else who cares to eavesdrop,'' writes essayist Epstein in his introduction to this satisfying eighth volume of the annual series. Along with series editor Robert Atwan, Epstein presents a range of voices and styles—from Joseph Brodsky writing in The New Republic to Cynthia Ozick in The New Yorker and Lewis Thomas in Audubon. Read full book review >

PERTINENT PLAYERS by Joseph Epstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 1993

Epstein's third book of literary essays strikes a less polemical note than either Partial Payments (1989) or Plausible Prejudices (1985). Read full book review >

THE GOLDIN BOYS by Joseph Epstein
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 7, 1991

Editor of The American Scholar and a prolific essayist (A Line Out for a Walk, p. 314, etc.), Epstein debuts in fiction with this collection of nine stories, almost all of them about middle-aged Jewish men who grew up in the West Rogers Park area of Chicago. Many of these competent pieces serve the ideological agenda of the magazine in which they first appeared, the neo-conservative Commentary. ``Marshal Wexler's Brilliant Career,'' from the point of view of an Allan Bloomish Univ. of Chicago professor, tells of a student who becomes a prominent radical-chic publisher and writer. Read full book review >

Released: April 1, 1991

The title, American Scholar editor Epstein (Partial Ideas, 1988, etc.) tells us, is taken from Paul Klee's explanation of his art: ``I take a line out for a walk''-which, Epstein adds, ``describes exactly, precisely, absolutely what I do.'' And so it does, as demonstrated by these congenial essays, which ramble and slide from one idea to another, but always attain some sort of destination, or point. Read full book review >