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Culture and The Cold War


Michael Gorra
The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War.

Michael Gorra is the author of The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War. Earlier books include Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. As an editor, Gorra has put together volumes of stories by Joseph Conrad and Henry James for Penguin, along with the Norton Critical Editions of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including a Public Scholar Award, and a National Book Critics Circle award for his work as a reviewer. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the TLS, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Book Review, among others, and his travel essays have twice been included in the annual volumes of Best American Travel Writing. In 2014 he was a judge for the National Book Award in fiction. He is the Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College.

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Louis Menand
The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

Louis Menand is professor of English at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. His books include The Metaphysical Club, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history and the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians. In 2016, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. His new book, The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War, is a follow-up to The Metaphysical Club. He lives in Manhattan.

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The Cold War was not just a contest of power. It was also about ideas, in the broadest sense―economic and political, artistic and personal. In The Free World, the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize–winning scholar and critic Louis Menand tells the story of American culture in the pivotal years from the end of World War II to Vietnam and shows how changing economic, technological, and social forces put their mark on creations of the mind. In this, his follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Metaphysical Club, Louis Menand offers a new intellectual and cultural history of the postwar years. 

Menand will be in conversation with one of America’s most preeminent literary critics, Michael Gorra

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