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A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books
 
 
Author
Alex Beam.
Publisher PublicAffairs  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.15 x 0.65 inches
ISBN 9781586487768
Pages/Publication Date 245/2008
Daedalus Item Code 41003
This item is not available.
Description
Today the classics of the Western canon, written by the proverbial "dead white men," are all but dead in the pop culture wars, but in the 1950s and 60s they were a phenomenon. The Great Books of the Western World—a 54-volume set of works chosen by intellectuals at the University of Chicago and published by Encyclopedia Britannica—began as an educational movement and evolved into a briefly successful marketing idea. Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam explores an era when a million American households bought Hippocrates and Nicomachus from door-to-door salesmen, and how the legacy of this soon-to-fizzle effort has proven surprisingly long lived.

"Before the dawn of the television age, in an ambitious effort to enlighten the masses via door-to-door sales, Encyclopedia Britannica and the University of Chicago launched the Great Books ... 'purporting to encompass all of Western knowledge from Homer to Freud.' Led by the 'intellectual Mutt 'n' Jeff act' of former University of Chicago president Robert Hutchins and his sidekick Mortimer Adler, the Great Books briefly, and improbably, caught the nation's imagination.... Beam describes meetings endured by the selection committee, and countless debates over Euripedes, Herodotus, Shakespeare, Melville, Dickens and Whitman ('When it comes to Great Books, no one is without an opinion.'), but tells it like it is regarding ... the resulting volumes, labeling them 'icons of unreadability—32,000 pages of tiny, double-column, eye-straining type.' By lauding the intent and intelligently critiquing the outcome, Beam offers an insightful, accessible and fair narrative."—Publishers Weekly

 
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A Student's Guide to Classics
Bruce S. Thornton.
Studio: ISI Books.   Format: paperback. ISBN: 9781932236156.  Daedalus Item Code: 31160
List Price: $8.00 Sale Price: $2.98 You Save: $5.02
 
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