Amanda Claybaugh, a close colleague of Menand’s in Harvard’s English department before she became the school’s dean of undergraduate education, said that embedding ideas in stories is an “analytical mode” for Menand. “If you tell a story, you have to think in very concrete and specific terms about how culture works in a particular moment, how certain ideas, influences, encounters shape a person.”
How was Menand shaped?
He grew up in the Boston area, where his father was an administrator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His great-grandfather, also Louis Menand (the author is technically Louis Menand IV), was a