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American Studies

Louis Menand

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

At each step of this journey through American cultural history, Louis Menand has an original point to make: he explains the real significance of William James's nervous breakdown, and of the anti-Semitism in T. S. Eliot's writing. He reveals the reasons for the remarkable commercial successes of William Shawn's New Yorker and William Paley's CBS. He uncovers the connection between Larry Flynt's Hustler and Jerry Falwell's evangelism, between the atom bomb and the Scholastic Aptitude Test. He locates the importance of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer, Pauline Kael, Christopher Lasch, and Rolling Stone magazine. And he lends an ear to Al Gore in the White House as the Starr Report is finally presented to the public.

Like his critically acclaimed bestseller, The Metaphysical Club, American Studies is intellectual and cultural history at its best: game and detached, with a strong curiosity about the political underpinnings of ideas and about the reasons successful ideas insinuate themselves into the culture at large. From one of our leading thinkers and critics, known both for his "sly wit and reportorial high-jinks [and] clarity and rigor" (The Nation), these essays are incisive, surprising, and impossible to put down.

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American Studies
William James and the Case of the Epileptic Patient1In 1901, when he was fifty-nine, William James delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh. James was an international academic celebrity. The Principles of Psychology, which appeared in 1890 and which had taken him twelve years to write, had been quickly recognized as the leading summation of developments in a field transformed by the introduction of laboratory methods and by the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin. An abridged edition for students, Psychology: Briefer Course, popularly known as "Jimmy,"
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REVIEWS

Praise for American Studies

"Fifteen essays: always intelligent, frequently interesting . . . Brilliant thinking . . . His intellectual range is limitless."--Kirkus Reviews

"This book collects some of the most cogent and clearly articulated of those pieces, and reaffirms Menand's position as a preeminent historian of American liberalism's cultural incarnations."--Publishers Weekly

A Collection That "Represents The Heart of Menand's Work . . . And Demonstrates His Status As His Generation's Premier Critical Talent"--Los Angeles Times

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Louis Menand

  • Louis Menand is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Metaphysical Club and Distinguished Professor of English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a staff writer at The New Yorker.
  • Louis Menand
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    Louis Menand

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    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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