Download e-book for iPad: A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious by Alex Beam

By Alex Beam

ISBN-10: 0786726989

ISBN-13: 9780786726981

ISBN-10: 1586484877

ISBN-13: 9781586484873

Today the classics of the western canon, written by means 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 collage of Chicago, begun as a tutorial move, and developed right into a winning advertising suggestion. 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 good books fall out of style?

In A nice concept on the Time Alex Beam explores the nice Books mania, in an pleasing and surprisingly poignant portrait of yankee pop culture at the threshold of the tv age. Populated with memorable characters, A nice proposal on the Time will go away readers asking themselves: Have I learn Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura in recent years? 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

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The arguer stepped down from his soap box. ” One of his students was a night watchman who lived on a barge in the East River and did his reading at the Public Library on 42nd Street. ” Carnegie viewed the downtown Great Books classes as “experimental,” and they lasted for only two academic years, 1926–1927 and 1927–1928. Within just a few years, Adler, Buchanan, and McKeon would be reunited at the University of Chicago. 1586484873_beam 8/22/08 9:26 AM Page 23 TWO THE ODD COUPLE HERE IS A LOVELY, revealing story of how Mortimer Adler, the son of a Washington Heights jewelry salesman, first met Robert Maynard Hutchins, the refined child of a high-minded Presbyterian clergyman.

During the first three hours, they discussed evidence. Hutchins was interested in the legal exceptions to the hearsay rule: for instance, the occasional allowance of deathbed proclamations as evidence, on the grounds that men and women rarely lie when facing their Maker. ” As evening gathered, Maude Hutchins invaded her husband’s office with her baby daughter in a perambulator, took the men home, and started pouring martinis. The subject of evidence was soon forgotten. Years later, Adler remembered a Proustian moment in his first encounter with the beautiful, “lithesome” Maude: “She exuded the pungent scent of the plasticene that she had been modeling.

1586484873_beam 8/22/08 9:26 AM Page 43 T h e G re a t B o o ks i n th e G ra y C i ty from the educational ideology of the Middle Ages, Hutchins divided learning into four arts: natural, useful, liberal, and fine arts. ). ” Facts are the enemy, Hutchins railed, in several highly publicized university speeches of the early 1930s. “Facts are the core of an anti-intellectual curriculum. . Facts do not solve problems. . ” The university’s scientists and social scientists had no doubt who the “gadgeteers and data collectors” were.

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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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