great books

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Marriage Is Not a Water Fountain

Some proponents of homosexual pseudogamy now assert that argument is no longer necessary. We do not argue with segregationists, they say. We ignore them, we scorn them. They are not worth our time. They are mad or wicked. So too is the courageous Ryan Anderson, who says that marriage by nature requires a man and [...]

Quality Education is Not Rocket Science

Every week it seems I receive three or four letters from people who are establishing new schools or reforming old ones.  These letters are most encouraging, and all of the writers, without exception, are dedicated to restoring what is called a “classical” education.  Sometimes that implies the study of the true classics, the literature of [...]

The Good Story: Requiescat In Pace

What kind of madness has gripped the educational establishment? For decades, colleges and universities have churned out educrats trained in brown shirt tactics to rid the public schools of stories that have formed, inspired, and entertained students of all ages from time immemorial.  These educational “experts” are hell-bent on destroying stories that cultivate our appreciation [...]

Woe to Those Who Call Trash Treasure and Treasure Trash!

Ah, to know the mind of Aristotle, the man whom Dante called “the teacher of those who know.”  How magnificent to commune with the intellect of Plato, of whom Alfred North Whitehead dared to say: “the European philosophical tradition consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”  Many other ancient writers by their enduring works [...]

All Happy Trails Lead West (II)

 Presently we saw a curious thing: There were no clouds, the sun was going down in a limpid, gold-washed sky.  Just as the lower edge of the red disk rested on the high fields against the horizon, a great black figure suddenly appeared on the face of the sun.  We sprang to our feet, straining [...]

What Should Children Read?

In recommending books to be read by young people from the age of seven to the age of twelve, this critic’s problem is not paucity, but plenitude. For the number of good books for young people is large, and it increases every year. So I set down here brief remarks about a select few books [...]

The Arabian Nights

“Be sure that you wake me an hour before the dawn, and speak to me in these words: ‘My sister, if you are not asleep, I beg you, before the sun rises, to tell me one of your charming stories.’ Then I shall begin, and I hope by this means to deliver the people from [...]

All Happy Trails Lead West

A lot of good books have come out of the West.  They have been written by men and by women and may be read by girls and by boys.  It is no wonder that so many appear on John Senior’s list of the thousand or so good books that youngsters should read before they get [...]

What is Poetic Knowledge?

Editor’s note: Since so many people have responded favorably to the Civilized Reader column with requests for more information about John Senior and his educational vision, it seemed appropriate to republish this review of James Taylor’s Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education by (State University of New York Press, 1998).  Taylor and Kramer were both [...]

Shakespeare Good and Great

Well did John Senior advise parents and teachers to prepare today’s youngsters for great study, with experiences of the good, such as gardening, graceful dancing, and gazing at the stars dancing above, and also making sure to delight in a thousand good books, before getting to the hundred or so great books by the master [...]

Will Rascals Defend Our Civilization… and What Books will they Read?

He faces execution each day.  Seven days a week, his jury of peers votes unanimously for capital punishment.  The judge’s hand is typically stayed.  Mercy reigns because the accused shows signs of improvement.  Perhaps, this little boy will one day also become fully human.  With him and his kind rests the fate of Western Civilization. [...]

Household Stories of the Brothers Grimm

“It was the middle of winter, and the snow-flakes were falling like feathers from the sky, and a queen sat at her window working, and her embroidery-frame was of ebony. And as she worked, gazing at times out on the snow, she pricked her finger, and there fell from it three drops of blood on [...]

Utopia State University

An Education for Our Time Josiah Bunting III, Regnery, 1998, 246 pages.   After religion and the family, education ranks at the top of almost any society’s priorities. If any of these elements is not healthy, a society is in serious peril of dissolution. Josiah Bunting III’s An Education for Our Time is a bold, [...]

Graduation 2011

Two years ago, I wrote a column for this site titled “Graduation 2009.” As I come to the end of this scholastic year, I would like to return to the same topic: What do college graduates learn before they graduate? Depending on the student and the faculty, the answer ranges from “not much” to “an [...]

Curing Socratophobia: On Teaching the Great Books

  Modern liberal Catholic colleges and universities have made a mockery of academic freedom, as the recent Marquette "controversy" reveals (see my analysis here and here). Unfortunately, in reaction to the modernism, relativism, careerism, atheism, skepticism, and political correctness of the typical "Catholic" educational institutions today, some of the more unapologetically orthodox Catholic colleges and [...]

The Great Philosopher Who Became Catholic

Eight years ago today, a famous American philosopher died who had lived as a Catholic the last year of his life. Not so long ago, his name -- Mortimer J. Adler -- was synonymous with the "great books" approach to education he had pioneered with Robert Hutchins at the University of Chicago in the 1940s [...]

A Good Book About Bad Books

If ever there were a book designed specifically for the enjoyment of InsideCatholic readers, surely it is Benjamin Wiker's new 10 Books that Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others that Didn't Help. Wiker should be renowned (if he is not already) for Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists -- a book that at once [...]

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