Louis Menand’s Advice to Young Literary Critics

"There’s no point in going into a field like English literature unless you’re going to have fun with it."

Caring Deeply About Fictional Characters

The Harvard critic recalls feeling genuinely anxious about how things would turn out for the hero of "The Magic Mountain."

In Praise of MFA Programs

Creative writing programs have left a dominant stamp on American literature in recent decades. The Harvard professor is glad they’re around.

Fending Off Angry Readers

Louis Menand recalls the most vehement reactions his essays have ever gotten—including one from a reader who didn’t realize Menand agreed with him.