Serious Fun

The Critical Range of Daniel Mendelsohn

Waiting for the Barbarians
Essays from the Classics
to Pop Culture
Daniel Mendelsohn
New York Review Books, $24.95, 423 pp.

In his play The Frogs, Aristophanes imagines Aeschylus and Euripides meeting in Hades and arguing about which of them is the greater poet. Aeschylus claims to present noble ideals to which his audience can aspire; Euripides, to present a democratic view of his audience as they really are. The two settle their dispute by weighing their collected works. Aeschylus wins because his plays are physically heavier, not because they are more beautiful. His reward is to return to the...

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About the Author

Scott D. Moringiello is the Lawrence C. Gallen Fellow in the Humanities at Villanova University where he teaches the Augustine and Culture Seminar and courses in the theology department. He blogs at dotCommonweal.