Comparative Literature Professor Daniel Herwitz has contributed an essay to a volume that won the 2016 National Jewish Book Award, in the category of anthologies and collections: Makers of Jewish Modernity: Thinkers, Artists, and Leaders and the World They Made (published by Princeton University Press and edited by Jacques Picard, Jacques Revel, Michael P. Steinberg, and Idith Zertal). 

In his essay, "Joel and Ethan Coen," Herwitz writes: 

"Flatness is a distinctive, one might say definitive American trait, which the Coens have spent their lives studying/parodying in the medium of film. They storyboard a landscape of humans speaking in processed, prefabricated language, humans who are also convinced that their blended lifestyles are singular and original. Convinced that they resolutely follow their own drummers, this parade of Coen brothers' characters live through prefabricated sources, and flatten out into a kind of Velveeta cheese."