The Metaphysical Club

4.07 avg rating
( 3,420 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780007126897: The Metaphysical Club

Hardly a club in the conventional sense, the organization referred to in the title of this superb literary hybrid—part history, part biography, part philosophy— consisted of four members and probably existed for less than nine months. Yet its impact upon American intellectual life remains incalculable. Louis Menand masterfully weaves pivotal late 19th-and early 20th-century events, colorful biographical anecdotes, and abstract ideas into a narrative whole that both enthralls and enlightens.

The Metaphysical Club is a compellingly vital account of how the cluster of ideas that came to be called pragmatism was forged from the searing experiences of its progenitors' lives. Here are Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey, all of them giants of American thought made colloquially accessible both as human beings and as intellects.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

If past is prologue, then The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand may suggest an intellectual course for the United States in the 21st century. At least Menand, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, thinks so. This enthralling study of Oliver Wendell Holmes, William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Dewey shows how these four men developed a philosophy of pragmatism following the Civil War, a period Menand likens to post-cold-war times. Together, "they were more responsible than any other group for moving American thought into the modern world."

Despite this potentially forbidding theme, The Metaphysical Club is not a dry tome for academics. Instead, it is a quadruple biography, a wonderfully told story of ideas that advances by turning these thinkers into characters and bringing them to life. Menand links them through the Metaphysical Club, a conversational club formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1872. It lasted but a few months, and references to it appear only in Peirce's writings (its real significance seems rather limited), though Holmes and James were both members. (Dewey was much younger than these three, and more an heir than a contemporary.) It is difficult to describe in a sentence or two what they accomplished, though Menand takes a stab at it: "They helped put an end to the idea that the universe is an idea, that beyond the mundane business of making our way as best we can in a world shot through with contingency, there exists some order, invisible to us, whose logic we transgress at our peril." Academic freedom and cultural pluralism are just two of their legacies, and they are linchpins of democracy in a nonideological age, says Menand.

A book like this is necessarily idiosyncratic, yet at the same time this one is sweeping. It presents an accessible survey of intellectual life from roughly the end of the Civil War to the start of the cold war. Dozens of figures receive fascinating thumbnail sketches, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Darwin to Jane Addams and Eugene Debs. The result is a grand portrait of an age that will appeal to anyone with even a modest interest in the history of philosophy and ideas. --John Miller

About the Author:

LOUIS MENAND is a professor of English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and also has taught at Princeton, Columbia, and the University of Virginia School of Law. A staff writer at The New Yorker, he has been a contributing editor of The New York Review of Books since 1994. He lives in New York City.

HENRY LEYVA’s regional theatre credits include A Streetcar Named Desire at Hartford Stage, The Miser at Arena Stage, Taming of the Shrew at the Denver Center, and Once in Arden at South Coast Rep. New York stage credits include Love Suicide at LaMaMa, Modern Ladies at EST, and Death and the Maiden at PRTT. Film credits include Turn the River, Charlie Keats, and The Interrogation. Henry has narrated many outstanding audio books and has voiced hundreds of TV and radio commercials. He received an MFA in Drama at the University of California, Irvine.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Menand, Louis
Published by Flamingo, London (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
PsychoBabel & Skoob Books
(Didcot, OXON, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Flamingo, London, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. Hardcover in good condition. Jacket is lightly marked and edge worn. Hardcover spine ends, rear upper leading corner and rear lower edge are bumped. Minor nick on rear lower edge. Pages are clean and text is clear throughout. Binding is sound. HCW. Used. Bookseller Inventory # 443880

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 8.36
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.50
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Louis Menand
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Quantity Available: 1
Seller
MegaBooksUK
(Wolsingham, A, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bookseller Inventory # SKU-4050931

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 11.06
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.90
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Menand, Louis
Published by Flamingo, London (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
PsychoBabel & Skoob Books
(Didcot, OXON, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Flamingo, London, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. Hardcover. Good condition. Minor edge-wear and one or two scores and bumps on jacket. Hardcover spine foot is bumped. One or two very small marks on page block. Two-centimetre tear on lower edge of page 295. Contents are clear. AF. Used. Bookseller Inventory # 448166

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 8.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.50
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Louis Menand
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Quantity Available: 1
Seller
*BIG BANG BOOKS*
(Durham, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bookseller Inventory # SKU-4050931

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 11.49
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.90
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Louis Menand
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Hemingway Ventures Ltd.
(Consett, CD, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bookseller Inventory # SKU-4050931

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 11.51
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.90
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Louis Menand
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Quantity Available: 1
Seller
JULIES BOOKSHOP
(Consett, CO D, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Bookseller Inventory # SKU-4050931

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 11.54
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.90
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Menand, Louis
Published by Flamingo
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
INSIGNIA BOOKS
(doncaster, SY, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Flamingo. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. 0007126891. Bookseller Inventory # EEE0009447

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 9.69
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 8.90
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

MENAND, Louis
Published by Flamingo / HarperCollins (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller
St Philip's Books, P.B.F.A., B.A.
(Oxford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Flamingo / HarperCollins, 2001. Hardback. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st edition. ~No ownership marks. Page-edges toned. Dustwrapper unclipped. Size: xii, 546 pp,frontis, illus. Binding tight, text unmarked. Bookseller Inventory # AA2436

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 13.38
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.75
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Louis Menand
Published by Flamingo
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Free Shipping Books
(Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Flamingo. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. book was well loved but cared for. Possible ex-library copy with all the usual markings and stickers. Some light textual notes, highlighting and underling. Bookseller Inventory # 2758289849

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 43.22
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Menand, Louis
Published by Flamingo (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007126891 ISBN 13: 9780007126897
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Booked Again
(Summit, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Flamingo, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Good condition, some are ex-library and can have markings. Bookseller Inventory # GD-131-19-0653000

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
US$ 33.23
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 10.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book