Louis Menand





Louis Menand

Author profile


born
in Syracuse, The United States
January 21, 1952

gender
male


About this author

Louis Menand, professor of English at Harvard University, is the author of The Metaphysical Club, which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in History. A longtime staff writer for The New Yorker, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Average rating: 3.98 · 3,913 ratings · 475 reviews · 22 distinct works · Similar authors
The Metaphysical Club
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 2,252 ratings — published 2001 — 12 editions
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The Marketplace of Ideas: R...
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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49 avg rating — 180 ratings — published 2010 — 10 editions
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American Studies
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 159 ratings — published 2002 — 7 editions
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Pragmatism: A Reader
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 137 ratings — published 1997
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The Best American Essays 2004
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 118 ratings — published 2004 — 3 editions
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Discovering Modernism: T.S....
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 22 ratings — published 1986 — 4 editions
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The Future of Academic Freedom
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 6 ratings — published 1996 — 2 editions
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The Story of the Soup Cans
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 2 ratings
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Autobiography and Recollect...
0.0 of 5 stars 0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2008 — 3 editions
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Divided Loyalties
0.0 of 5 stars 0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2006 — 2 editions
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“Quotable quotes are coins rubbed smooth by circulation.”
Louis Menand

“There is history the way Tolstoy imagined it, as a great, slow-moving weather system in which even tsars and generals are just leaves before the storm. And there is history the way Hollywood imagines it, as a single story line in which the right move by the tsar or the wrong move by the general changes everything. Most of us, deep down, are probably Hollywood people. We like to invent “what if” scenarios--what if x had never happened, what if y had happened instead?--because we like to believe that individual decisions make a difference: that, if not for x, or if only there had been y, history might have plunged forever down a completely different path. Since we are agents, we have an interest in the efficacy of agency.”
Louis Menand

“Order what you feel like eating," says your impatient dinner companion. But the problem is that you don't KNOW what you feel like eating. What you feel like eating is precisely what you are trying to figure out.
Order what you feel like eating" is just a piece of advice about the criteria you should be using to guide your deliberations. It is not a solution to your menu problem - just as "Do the right thing" and "Tell the truth" are only suggestions about criteria, not answers to actual dilemmas. The actual dilemma is what, in the particular case staring you in the face, the right thing to do or the honest thing to say really is. And making those kinds of decisions - about what is right or what is truthful - IS like deciding what to order in a restaurant, in the sense that getting a handle on tastiness is no harder or easier (even though it is generally less important) than getting a handle on justice or truth.”
Louis Menand

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