April 13, 2001 Louis Menand to Discuss His Widely Praised New Book at the Library of Congress on May 30

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Louis Menand, contributing editor at The New York Review of Books and staff writer for The New Yorker, will discuss his book The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, May 2001) at the Library of Congress at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 30, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The program, part of the Center for the Book's "Books & Beyond" series, is free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets are required.

"We're immensely pleased to host Louis Menand in his first Washington, D.C., appearance after the publication of this major work," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole. The Metaphysical Club focuses on American thought and action between the end of the Civil War and World War I. The Library has strong collections corresponding to this time period."

Publishers Weekly describes Mr. Menand's new book as "extraordinarily ambitious and compulsively readable." In it, Mr. Menand emphasizes the development and influence of pragmatism in American culture by examining the lives, writings and influence of four men: Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes; psychologist William James (who popularized the word "pragmatism"); philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce; and John Dewey, for decades America's foremost public intellectual.

Louis Menand is an editor, journalist, literary critic, and cultural historian. He is the author of a book on T.S. Eliot, Discovering Modernism (Oxford University Press, 1987); the editor of The Future of Academic Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 1996) and Pragmatism: A Reader (Vintage, 1997). Mr. Menand is the co-editor of America in Theory (Oxford University Press, 1987) and volume seven of The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism (Cambridge University Press, 2000). He received a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 1980. Louis Menand taught at Princeton University and Queens College and is now an English professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries. For information about its programs and publications and the activities of its affiliates in 41 states and the District of Columbia, consult its Web site at www.loc.gov/cfbook.


PR 01-061
ISSN 0731-3527