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I generally find my own preferences and ideas objectionable when I read or hear them written or said by others. There is something about another person saying it that robs it of the vanity that attached to it when it was "mine" and forces me to want to critique it -- even to challenge with it -- because it is somebody else's.
I have had that experience, in part, with Babbitt. In large part, I find agreement with the general thrust of Babbitt's arg I have to begin here with a bit of a confession. In large part, I find agreement with the general thrust of Babbitt's argument that "in general, education should represent the conservative and unifying element in our national life" p.
Generally, I think this is correct and that Babbitt argues this point well. Although Babbitt is writing about the college, I think it is fair to extend this point to the primary and secondary school as well. Curricula at the K level as well as in college's today are oriented toward a kind of experiment in utopia creation that is, while perhaps goodhearted in some sense, ultimately destructive to the minds of the students subject to it.
I have firsthand experience with teaching history and literature to middle and high school students who have learned for six to nine years consecutively about the Civil Rights Movement in their "social studies" classes and can read a comic book well enough, but have never heard of the Greeks and the Romans and haven't so much as cracked the cover on a copy of the Iliad.
Where I take issue with Babbitt is in his failure to provide the specifics. There is a certain curmudgeonliness that we have to embrace if we are to continue to believe in the fabled and ancient beast we call "the Canon," but it seems to me there must be limits here as well.
What merits entry into the canon? Influence on subsequent literature? I wonder if sometimes the Babbitts among us and I am one as well, most of the time are not too quick to dismiss a text in the same sort of knee-jerk way as the equal-and-opposite party would demand its inclusion.
He has a congenial point of view about what makes for great literature and art in general. His book on Rousseau and Romanticism is a brilliant analysis of the modern philosophy of art. There are a few cogent points made in this book.
I cannot help but believe that the education in America would benefit from following Babbitt's advice in this book. However, his point of view had little effect on Harvard at the time that he presented his ideas, and things have I find Irving Babbitt a kindred soul.
However, his point of view had little effect on Harvard at the time that he presented his ideas, and things have gone downhill since then. I have little hope that anyone will be influenced by the ideas in this book today. Nor does this book do much in the way of convincing anyone.
If you are interested in knowing the whys and wherefores of Babbitt's point of view, I recommend his book on Rousseau and Romanticism.
That it is still in print is noteworthy, although it is only being read by those who are already sensitive to the wisdom of former civilizations.
We can hope, however, that our modern discontents might lead others to Babbitt's pages. An important book even if it is largely forgotten.«10 Tools for Writing a College Application Essay. “There will be more incentives to electrical engineers than French literature majors,” Bevin told the Associated Press, when announcing his state spending proposal.
“All the people in the world that want to study French literature can do so, they are just not going to be subsidized. Literature and the American College is a quite short book originally published in It is a book, in other words, approaching its centenary, but so solid 5/5(1).
Some, such as professor Grayling of Birkbeck College London, supported the college’s defense of the humanities courses through privatization, while many academics viewed the NCHUM as a business opportunity in response to students who sought an end to the public funding of liberal arts (Gopal, , p).
Defending the Humanities.
The disciplines are needed more than ever and besieged more than ever, writes Peter Burian, who considers the ways scholars can respond. that focused the attention of students and their parents ever more firmly on what might help one to land a job after college.
Support of higher education at the state level has. In defense of the humanities.
In defense of the humanities. Skip to main content. Return to the main NEH site. What Words Are Worth In defense of the humanities. By R. Howard Bloch which included the study of classic works of literature, history, and philosophy in the original Greek and Latin, in prewar Germany or France; and no one up.
Excerpt from Literature and the American College: Essays in Defense of the Humanities Nearly half the matter in this volume has been printed elsewhere. The Rational Study of the Classics, Literature and the College, and On Being Original are reproduced with immaterial changes from the Atlantic Monthly/5(4).