News & Politics

Leon Wieseltier Joins The Atlantic

The former New Republic editor will be a contributing editor and critic.

Former New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier is joining The Atlantic as a contributing editor and critic, the publication announced Monday. Wieseltier resigned from The New Republic last month when owner Chris Hughes booted Franklin Foer as editor.

The press release (below) doesn’t spell out what Wieseltier’s responsibilities will be at The Atlantic, but editor-in-chief James Bennet salutes his “piercing criticism of culture and society,” and the release notes he is joining the publication “at a time of expansion for the brand’s culture coverage.”

Full release:

Washington, D.C. (January 5, 2015)— The veteran writer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier is joining The Atlantic as contributing editor and critic, James Bennet, president and editor in chief of The Atlantic, announced today. In his new role, Wieseltier will write for the magazine and the Web site, across his customary wide range of subjects. He will be reunited with his former colleague at The New Republic, Ann Hulbert, the literary editor of The Atlantic.

“For a generation of editors and writers, Leon has helped define standards for piercing criticism of culture and society,” said Bennet. “There is no writer better equipped – by dint of erudition, wit, and forcefulness – to fill the role of critic for The Atlantic.”

Wieseltier comes to The Atlantic from The New Republic, where he served as literary editor for the last thirty-one years. He is the author of several books including Nuclear War, Nuclear Peace, Against Identity and Kaddish, a widely acclaimed hybrid of memoir, philosophy and religious history. He has published translations of modern Hebrew poetry as well as influential essays on culture, politics, religion, foreign policy, and national security

In 2013, Wieseltier was awarded the Dan David Prize, which recognizes three honorees each year for outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on the world. In describing Wieseltier’s accomplishments, the judges wrote, he is “a foremost writer and thinker who confronts and engages with the central issues of our times, setting the standard for serious cultural discussion.”

Wieseltier is a member of the Editorial Board of the Jewish Review of Books. He has taught and lectured at many universities, and this spring is teaching at Harvard Law School.

Wieseltier joins The Atlantic at a time of expansion for the brand’s culture coverage. Along with Hulbert, The Atlantic‘s culture writers and editors include Sophie Gilbert, Spencer Kornhaber, Megan Garber, Lenika Cruz, Joe Reid, and David Sims; James Parker, a contributing editor and author of the magazine’s Omnivore column; Senior Editor and Film Critic Christopher Orr; and Contributors Sarah Boxer, Deborah Cohen, William Deresiewicz, Caitlin Flanagan, Nathaniel Rich, among others.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, to Holocaust survivors, Wieseltier attended Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford Universities. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Jennifer Bradley, who will soon join the Aspen Institute as director of the Center for Urban Innovation, and their son.

Don’t Miss Another Big Story—Get Our Weekend Newsletter

Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.