New PDF release: A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious

By Alex Beam

ISBN-10: 0786726989

ISBN-13: 9780786726981

ISBN-10: 1586484877

ISBN-13: 9781586484873

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

In A nice inspiration on the Time Alex Beam explores the nice Books mania, in an exciting and unusually poignant portrait of yankee 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 no longer, why not?

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

Example text

Dewey, known for his soft speech and mild temper, was sitting just two chairs away, building up steam. When Adler quoted a Dewey passage, and commented, “There is certainly nothing of the love of God in this utterance,” the venerable philosopher lost his cool. “Nobody is going to tell me how to love God,” he fumed, stalking out of the room. Like Harvard president Charles Eliot, John Dewey also casts a long shadow across this book. Unbeknownst to both of them, Dewey and Adler would spend their lifetimes in public combat.

Hutchins spent plenty of time putting the arm on the Harold Swifts and the Marshall Fields of the world, all the while maintaining a healthy cynicism about fund-raising. ’” In his desk drawer, Hutchins kept a sign that he pulled out only occasionally, presumably when Swift, the chairman of the board of trustees, was absent. ” The future novelist Saul Bellow, who attended U. of C. ” When Bellow and his friend Isaac Rosenfeld arrived in New York as hot-to-succeed young intellectuals, 1586484873_beam 8/22/08 9:26 AM Page 53 T h e G re a t B o o ks i n th e G ra y C i ty [f ]or some reason neither Isaac nor I could think of ourselves as provincials in New York.

The idealism of Oberlin and the cynical sense of entitlement he encountered at Yale made Hutchins a small-“d” democrat for life. After graduation, Hutchins took a not very promising job at the Lake Placid School in upstate New York, a boarding school of last resort for well-to-do young men who were having trouble passing the College Board entrance exams. On the mistaken assumption that Hutchins was interested in education—he swore he wasn’t—Yale president James Angell quickly recalled the newly married graduate back to New Haven to be secretary of the university.

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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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