2015 National Humanities Medalist
Louis Menand is one of those rare individuals whose work straddles the worlds of both academia and popular high culture.
As a distinguished professor at Harvard University, and as a celebrated writer for The New Yorker magazine, Louis provides an exciting and unexpected perspective on every subject he tackles.
Offering his readers, his audiences, and his students the best of both worlds, Louis gives voice to important contemporary ideas as well as key intellectual moments in the history of our country. His insights and his witty, piercing observations can be appreciated by both academics and the intelligent public at large.
He has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1991 and became a staff writer in 2001. In that role he examines important issues in the worlds of literature, art, pop culture, television, politics, history, and journalism. He uses his book reviews as a springboard for his witty and always thought-provoking observations on all aspects of the American scene.
As a professor and leading academic, he has written incisively on the problems and challenges of higher education, the role of the university in modern America. He has published many important books and papers of intellectual history and literary criticism.
He is the author of several books, including:
The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History, and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians, the book provides an intellectual and cultural history of late 19th and early 20th century America. It recounts the lives and intellectual achievements of the American thinkers responsible for the philosophical concept of pragmatism, a school of thought that has had a strong and direct influence on modern thought.
"A grand portrait of an age that will appeal to anyone with even a modest interest in the history of philosophy and ideas."
— Amazon.com Review
"An accessible and deeply engaging account of one of the most important intellectual movements in the history of the United States."
— American Scientist
"Extraordinarily ambitious and compulsively readable."
— Publishers Weekly
The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University
". . .manages to do many things in four short essays—describe the changing self-conception of the university, identify the difficulties behind curricular reform, and analyze the anxieties of humanities professors. But the book's chief accomplishment is its insistence that what we take for academic crises are probably just academic problems, and they are ours to solve."
Louis is currently at work on a new, groundbreaking book in which he examines the interaction between art and politics during the cold war.
- Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English and American Literature and Language, Harvard University
- Pulitzer Prize winner in history
- Editorial Board, The Penguin History of American Life
- Staff Writer, The New Yorker
- Distinguished Professor of English, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
- Vice-President, PEN American Center; Executive Board
- Contributing editor, The New York Review of Books
- Associate Editor, The New Republic
- PhD, with distinction, Columbia University
- M.A. with high honors, Columbia University
- B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Pomona College