A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious by Alex Beam PDF

By Alex Beam

ISBN-10: 0786726989

ISBN-13: 9780786726981

ISBN-10: 1586484877

ISBN-13: 9781586484873

Today the classics of the western canon, written by way of the proverbial “dead white men,” are cannon fodder within the tradition wars. yet within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, they have been a popular culture phenomenon. the good Books of Western Civilization, fifty-four volumes selected via intellectuals on the college of Chicago, all started as an instructional circulation, and developed right into a profitable advertising proposal. Why did one million American families purchase books through Hippocrates and Nicomachus from door-to-door salesmen? and the way and why did the nice books fall out of favor?

In A nice thought on the Time Alex Beam explores the good Books mania, in an pleasing and surprisingly poignant portrait of yank pop culture at the threshold of the tv age. Populated with memorable characters, A nice thought on the Time will depart readers asking themselves: Have I learn Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura in recent times? If now not, why not?

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Extra info for A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books

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These are writers we never would have learned about in a million years: Quintilian’s Rhetorical Exercises? St. Thomas Aquinas? I was raised an Orthodox Jew. ” “Never were egos so quickly deflated,” alumnus George McElroy reminisced for the university magazine: We had been supposed to start with The Iliad but Hutchins could not make it that week, so we had it and The Odyssey together. Adler had told us that he tended to go around the table calling on students, while Hutchins preferred to go down the class roll.

The purpose of higher education,” Hutchins thundered, “is to unsettle the minds of young ————— *Adler’s abrasiveness cannot be understated. In an oral history interview, George Dell asked Adler about the rumor that he had hastened the death of Chicago philosopher and Dewey protégé George Herbert Mead, who resigned his chair while warring with Adler and Hutchins. Adler allowed that yes, he was quite abrasive, and that yes, he and Mead had disagreements. “But I mean, after all, that didn’t kill him.

There are several versions of this encounter, and the above draws mainly from Adler’s. Here is just a sample of Stein’s own lengthy account in Everybody’s Autobiography: “[Y]es I know and I began to get excited yes I know, naturally you are teachers and teaching is your occupation and naturally what you call ideas are easy to teach and so you are convinced that they are the only ideas” etc. etc.

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A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books by Alex Beam


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