Famous Quotes & Sayings

Louis Menand Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 51 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Louis Menand.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pinterest Share on Linkedin

Louis Menand Quotes 2056521

Literature is being taught as though it were only political medicine or political poison-a view that is not only illiberal but illiterate. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 369397

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

Louis Menand Quotes 223227

My own view is that the general education curriculum that a college picks has to be appropriate for the kind of student body that it has. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 182095

Mixed with this frustration was the suspicion that Northern lives were being wasted because of mismanagement and political meddling, a suspicion reinforced by Lincoln's firing of McClellan, who, despite his poor showing in the field, was widely respected as a military professional. These are the views reflected in Holmes's letter. They were Copperhead views, but one did not need to be a Democrat in the fall of 1862 to share them. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 872159

When I was young, I went to college, had a teacher who was, had been a student of Trilling's at Columbia, this was in California. And he, I started reading him around that time, and then I went to Columbia as well, Trilling was still teaching there, I took a course with him. He was not a great teacher, but he was, when I was younger, he was a good model for the kind of criticism I wanted to do, because he thought very dialectically. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1016521

He believed that "a day will come when the sexual relations will be regulated in every case by the private will of the parties. The public sentiment, then, or law, ... will declare the entire freedom of every man or woman to follow the bent of their private affections, will justify every alliance sanctioned by these affections."31 — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1395912

I don't think that you want to see universities in any way trying to have any kind of quota system about political views, or views in general. You want the market to work in the way the market works. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 356197

Most Americans who made it past the fourth grade have a pretty good idea who Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were. Not many Americans have even heard of Alice Paul, Howard W. Smith, and Martha Griffiths. But they played almost as big a role in the history of women's rights as Marshall and King played in the history of civil rights for African-Americans. They gave women the handle to the door to economic opportunity, and nearly all the gains women have made in that sphere since the nineteen-sixties were made because of what they did. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1306299

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

Louis Menand Quotes 623417

It's all in the genes: an explanation for the way things are that does not threaten the way things are. Why should someone feel unhappy or engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living in the freest and most prosperous nation on earth? It can't be the system! There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1566830

The short story is not as restrictive as the sonnet, but, of all the literary forms, it is possibly the most single-minded. ... at the end there has to be the literary equivalent of the magician's puff of smoke, an outcome that is both startling and anticipated. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 350996

I don't think people believe that any more, I don't think people think that it really matters whether you appreciate Henry James more than Theodore Dreiser. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1623931

The job of the critic, as it might have been conceived in the 1950's or 1960's, was some kind of role of moral arbiter for people, not a huge number of people, but people who were, you know, fairly educated, well-placed people. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 906633

There are limits, after all, to the idea of limits. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 2084316

James's general position on the difference between the sexes, which was that woman is "by nature inferior to man. She is man's inferior in passion, his inferior in intellect, and his inferior in physical strength"; she is, very properly, her husband's "patient and unrepining drudge, his beast of burden, his toilsome ox, his dejected ass, his cook, his tailor, his own cheerful nurse and the sleepless guardian of his children." But their inferiority, James thought, is precisely what makes women attractive to men, so that any "great development of passion or intellect in woman is sure to prejudice" male attention. "Would any man fancy a woman after the pattern of Daniel Webster?"33 He consequently opposed serious education for women, a doctrine that had disastrous consequences in the case of his youngest child and only daughter, Alice. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 908804

I don't think the same curriculum fits every student body. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 133883

I think that the idea that there's such a thing as a national literature that's somehow uniquely expressive of a national soul or culture or mentality is probably also something that nobody really believes in anymore. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 184580

Diminished circumstances had no effect on his sense of what was honorable: after The Spectator sent him a check for a piece it had accepted but was unable to run for a lack of space, he refused to write for the magazine again. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 272119

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic. Never, btw, ask that androgynous paper clip anything. S/he is just a stooge for management, leading you down more rabbit holes of options for things called Wizards, Macros, Templates, and Cascading Style Sheets. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 312259

A person whose financial requirements are modest and whose curiosity, skepticism and indifference to reputation are outsized is a person at risk of becoming a journalist. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 320629

One of the functions of literary criticism, or reviewing, generally - and I, most of my reviews actually are not about literature - but one of the functions of that is basically the sort of Consumer Reports function of letting readers know whether this is something they want to read. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 321121

I don't think that taste should be the decider of moral issues. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 448787

Quotable quotes are coins rubbed smooth by circulation. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 509220

What are the liberal arts and sciences? They are simply fields in which knowledge is pursued disinterestedly - that is, without regard to political, economic, or practical benefit. Disinterestedness doesn't mean that the professor is equally open to any view. Professors are hired because they have views about their subjects, views that exclude opposing or alternative views. Disinterestedness just means that whatever views a professor does hold, they have been arrived at unconstrained, or as unconstrained as possible, by anything except the requirement of honesty. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 524755

Just in higher education alone, more people go to college now, by enormous amounts, than went to college in the '50's and '60's. So that represents a whole new literate public that's a consumer of literature, of news, of print, of, you know, opinion. And that's a bigger audience and much more diverse audience than it used to be. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 550400

One of the good things about the profession of being a professor, is that you also have time to do what interests you and what you care about or what you're good at. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 605137

Public circulation is what renders something a quotation. It's quotable because it's been quoted, and its having been quoted gives it authority. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 627689

I think at a place like Harvard, our experience, I was involved with, at various stages, in trying to implement a new general education curriculum, our experience was that Harvard's all about specialization, that's not just true of the professori, it's also true of a lot of the undergraduates, too, and they come, they kind of know what they want to do, they select it because they have a strong aptitude for something in particular. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 636663

Harvard has something that manages, I think, to provide a lot of options for students, but still fairly prescriptive about the kinds of subjects that the courses ought to cover. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 638105

If you look up a word in the dictionary, you find it defined by a string of other words, the meanings of which can be discovered by looking them up in a dictionary, leading to more words that can be looked up in turn. There is no exit from the dictionary. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 698097

Anxiety is the price tag on human freedom — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 727550

We have much wisdom to gain by learning to understand other people's cultures and permitting ourselves to accept that there is more than one version of reality. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 765366

You have to have students wanting to take the courses, otherwise you're not going, they're not going to be very effective. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 776384

Writers are not mere copyists of language; they are polishers, embellishers, perfecters. They spend hours getting the timing right so that what they write sounds completely unrehearsed. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 834624

It's generally sort of sociologically observed that the better educated people are, the more liberal they tend to be, which would suggest that professors are going to be more liberal than the general public. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 840090

For the kind of places I've written for and the kind of writing that I've done, the general way to think about your audience is to think about somebody who's like yourself, but in a completely different discipline. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1021627

Basically what you want in any profession - I would say the same thing if I were a lawyer or a doctor - is you want bright undergraduates to look at your profession as something they would be interested in getting into. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1046817

The biggest undergraduate major by far in the United States is business. Twenty-two percent of all bachelor's degrees are awarded in that field. Ten percent of all bachelor's degrees are awarded in education. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1087300

If time is a staircase, reality is a Slinky. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1232140

You can't observe historical events; you can't question historical actors; you can't even know most of what has not been written about. What has been written about therefore takes on an importance that may be spurious. A few lines in a memoir, a snatch of recorded conversation, a letter fortuitously preserved, an event noted in a diary: all become luminous with significance - even though they are merely the bits that have floated to the surface. The historian clings to them, while, somewhere below, the huge submerged wreck of the past sinks silently out of sight. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1287082

The time between Bachelor's degree and a PhD, the median time is over 11 years. So then you're still only on a tenure ladder, you're not tenured. So it generally takes 6 to 8 years after that to get tenure. So that's a very long period of what's essentially apprenticeship, of insecurity. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1417309

I do worry a lot about the time it takes for people to get a PhD, about the difficulty of finding employment, about the difficulty of getting tenure, and generally about the perception that undergraduates have, that this is a very high-risk career to get started. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1505581

Cognitive science is a rapidly developing area, so it could be that there are some surprises around the corner. That does seem to be kind of where the trend line is leading. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1529746

I think our sensibility is not modernist anymore, that is, sensibility of people who are interested in art and literature. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1665423

I'm not one of the people who has a kind of scholarly hat and writes in a certain way for an academic audience and then puts on a public intellectual hat and writes a different way for a different kind of readership. I generally write the way I write, no matter what and it seems to have worked for me. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1783314

It's difficult to get a job and people stay in school longer because they're employed as teaching assistants or instructors by their schools, by their schools where they're graduate students, and that does become exploitative eventually because they're very cheap labor and there's a way in which in it's not in the institution's interest to give them a degree if they can continue to employ them, I don't think anybody thinks that way, but effectively that's the way the system is starting to work. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1914081

It was not a matter of choosing sides, it was a matter of rising above the whole concept of sideness. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 1954877

When the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, on January 1, 1863, Abbott wrote from the front to his aunt to explain that [t]he president's proclamation is of course received with universal disgust, particularly the part which enjoins officers to see that it is carried out. You may be sure that we shan't see to any thing of the kind, having decidedly too much reverence for the constitution. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 2034840

They all believed that ideas are not "out there" waiting to be discovered, but are tools - like forks and knives and microchips - that people devise to cope with the world in which they find themselves. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 2064736

It's very hard to know who your readers are, but that's who I'm ... if I have somebody in my head, that's probably who it is. — Louis Menand

Louis Menand Quotes 2210590

I think in general there's no point in going into a field like English literature if you're not going to have fun with it. — Louis Menand