Michael André Bernstein studied Romance languages at Princeton and Oxford. In 1975, he began working at Berkeley, where he was to remain the rest of his working life, first as a lecturer, then as a Professor of Comparative Literature. He wrote important works of literary criticism, such as Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero (1992) and Foregone Conclusions: Against Apocalyptic History (1994), in which he focuses especially on the relationship between literature and morality. He also published the novel Conspirators (2004). Bernstein was a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, The Los Angeles Times Book Review and The New Republic.