Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back-and-forth ...

... Ping-Pong with Mortimer Adler - gentle rereader. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Barzun concludes – after presenting varied, ample and humorous evidence – that “the great books here gathered with so much love and care and public spirit betray a high-minded axe-grinding in the direction of intellectualism.” The future author ofThe House of Intellect did indeed write those words, but only after regretting that the first edition of Great Books missed the opportunity to “unite a great variety of intellectual interests by choosing from the recent times not only Freud but Shaw.” Barzun considers the collection unbalanced in a rationalistic direction: “Shouldn’t we have had … Balzac and Henry James—instead of Hippocrates on Hemorrhoids and Archimedes on Spheroids?”

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