Defining the Humanities

Defining the Humanities

How Rediscovering a Tradition Can Improve Our Schools, Second Edition With a Curriculum for Today’s Students
Robert E. Proctor
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/1/1998
Format: paper 272 pages
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21219-1
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“Think of this as ‘The Thinking Man’s Bloom’ or ‘The Thinking Woman’s Closing of the American Mind.’ It takes up debates about education and reasons about them, where Bloom often only blasted away. . . . This is one of the more helpful recent statements of the case for the classics, accompanied by rather venturesome curricular suggestions.” —Christian Century

“His exciting readable book calls for a return to a study of the classics—and of the Renaissance poets and scholars, like Petrarch, who rediscovered the classics.” —Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

“ . . . a splendid statement bringing together in a careful and coherent way the prospects for a solid humanities curriculum.” —Ernest L. Boyer

Ten years ago when this book was first published it was called Education’s Great Amnesia: Reconsidering the Humanities from Petrarch to Freud. It is being reissued now in a second edition with a different title for a new generation of readers who cannot have forgotten what they never knew. What are the humanities? Can we agree on a core curriculum of humanistic studies? Robert Proctor answers these questions in a provocative, readable book.

Author Bio

Robert E. Proctor is Professor of Italian at Connecticut College, where he has also served as Provost and Dean of the Faculty, and as Founding Director of the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts. He has been a Fellow of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy, and of the National Humanities Institute at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction
Part One: The Birth of the Humanities
The Humanist Transformation of Classical Antiquity
Petrarch and the Origins of the Humanities
Cicero in Grief: The Classical Soul Revealed
Ancient and Modern Categories of Thought
Part Two: The Death of the Humanities in the Modern World
Degeneration from Within
Change from Without
Part Three: Looking Forward
Lessons from the Renaissance
The Relevance of the Ancients
A Curriculum for Today
Epilogue
Appendix: The Humanities and International Studies
Notes
Works Cited
Index