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Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe : Toward the Revival of Higher Education

Publisher: New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, [2008] ©2008
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : Government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Although the essential books of Western civilization are no longer central in our courses or in our thoughts, they retain their ability to energize us intellectually, says Jeffrey Hart in this powerful book. He now presents a guide to some of these literary works, tracing the main currents of Western culture for all who wish to understand the roots of their civilization and the basis for its achievements.Hart  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Electronic books
Material Type: Document, Government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
ISBN: 9780300130522 030013052X
OCLC Number: 1024054410
Language Note: In English.
Description: 1 online resource : 10 b/w illus.
Contents: Frontmatter --
Contents --
Preface --
Acknowledgments --
PART ONE: THE GREAT NARRATIVE --
Chapter One: Athens and Jerusalem --
Chapter Two: Athens: The Heroic Phase --
Chapter Three: Moses as Epic Hero --
Chapter Four: Socrates and Jesus: Internalizing the Heroic --
Chapter Five: Paul: Universal Synthesis --
PART TWO: EXPLORATIONS --
Chapter Six: Augustine Chooses Jerusalem --
Chapter Seven: Dante, Rome (Athens), Jerusalem, and Amor --
Chapter Eight: Hamlet's Great Song --
Chapter Nine: The Indispensable Enlightenment: Molière and Voltaire --
Chapter Ten: Hamlet in St. Petersburg, Faust in Great Neck: Dostoyevsky and Scott Fitzgerald --
Afterword: Today and Tomorrow --
Notes --
Index
Responsibility: Jeffrey Hart.
More information:

Abstract:

Although the essential books of Western civilization are no longer central in our courses or in our thoughts, they retain their ability to energize us intellectually, says Jeffrey Hart in this powerful book. He now presents a guide to some of these literary works, tracing the main currents of Western culture for all who wish to understand the roots of their civilization and the basis for its achievements.Hart focuses on the productive tension between the classical and biblical strains in our civilization--between a life based on cognition and one based on faith and piety. He begins with the Iliad and Exodus, linking Achilles and Moses as Bronze Age heroic figures. Closely analyzing texts and illuminating them in unexpected ways, he moves on to Socrates and Jesus, who "internalized the heroic," continues with Paul and Augustine and their Christian synthesis, addresses Dante, Shakespeare (Hamlet), Molière, and Voltaire, and concludes with the novel as represented by Crime and Punishment and The Great Gatsby. Hart maintains that the dialectical tensions suggested by this survey account for the restlessness and singular achievements of the West and that the essential books can provide the substance and energy currently missed by both students and educated readers.

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