- Category : Writers-Fiction
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Small (16,39)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Cycles 2
American writer, essayist, editor and educator whose work includes three published collections of essays, two collections of literary criticism, two nonfiction books, and courses in literature and writing conducted as a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University. He is known for a witty and informal style.
Epstein’s father was a traveling salesman who also co-owned a costume-jewelry business. His childhood was happy with enjoyment of sports and movies, anything but books; one brother. In high school, he held a variety of after-school summer and weekend jobs ranging from golf caddy to Chinese restaurant busboy. He attended the University of Illinois, and received his B.A. degree in 1959 from the University of Chicago, where he had majored in English and edited the university’s literary magazine. He next served in the peacetime army, and then worked on a political magazine in New York City. Returning to Illinois, he served as senior editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He went on to become an editor at Quadrangle Books publishing company in Chicago.
In 1974 and 1975, Epstein became a visiting lecturer in the English department of Northwestern University and held the editorship of the "American Scholar." He continued in those roles while contributing to the "New York Times Book Review," "New Criterion," "New Republic," "New Yorker" and "Current History," among others.
His first book was "Divorce in America: Marriage in an Age of Possibility," 1974. The book touched on one of Epstein’s themes, the defense of an embattled institution. His next work of nonfiction was "Ambition: The Secret Passion," 1980. In 1981, he published "Masters: Portraits of Great Teachers." His essays have been collected in three separate books, including "The Middle of My Tether: Familiar Essays," 1983, and "Once More Around the Block," 1987. In 1989, for "Partial Payments," he received a $5,000 Heartland Prize for distinguished nonfiction writing about the places and people of Middle America from the Chicago Tribune.
He married his second wife, Barbara Maher, an editor, on 2/27/1976. He has two kids from his first marriage.
Athletic, he has a compact build and a direct gaze and focus. Relaxed and neat, he has nonetheless a bit of a flair.