#72 Topical Discussion
Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation
The popular and highly regarded Pieper speaks of the necessity for human persons to be able to contemplate and appreciate beauty to develop their full humanity. Pieper expresses succinctly that the foundation of the human person in society is leisure, free time in which one can contemplate, be receptive to being and its beauty.More info →
In Tune With The World: A Theory of Festivity
In this stimulating and still-timely study, Josef Pieper takes up a theme of paramount importance to his thinking – that festivals belong by rights among the great topics of philosophical discussion. As he develops his theory of festivity, the modern age comes under close and painful scrutiny. It is obvious that we no longer know what festivity is, namely, the celebration of existence under various symbols.
Pieper exposes the pseudo-festivals, in their harmless and their sinister forms: traditional feasts contaminated by commercialism; artificial holidays created in the interest of merchandisers; holidays by coercion, decreed by dictators the world over; festivals as military demonstrations; holidays empty of significance. And lastly we are given the apocalyptic vision of a nihilistic world which would seek its release not in festivities but in destruction.
Formulated with Pieper's customary clarity and elegance, enhanced by brilliantly chosen quotations, this is an illuminating contribution to the understanding of traditional and contemporary experience.More info →
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education (Revised Edition)
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education introduces readers to a paradigm for understanding a classical education that transcends the familiar 3-stage pattern of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Instead, this book describes the liberal arts as a central part of a larger and more robust paradigm of classical education that should consist of piety, gymnastic, music, liberal arts, philosophy, and theology. The Liberal Arts Tradition also recovers the means by which classical educators developed more than just intellectual virtue (by means of the 7 liberal arts) but holistically cultivated the mind, body, will, and affections. This is a must-read for educators who want to take a second big step toward recovering the tradition of classical education.More info →
The Lost Tools of Learning
This book was originally given as a talk by Dorothy Sayers at Oxford University in 1947 on the benefits of a classical education for children. It is great brief introduction to the advantages of a classical education.More info →
Charlotte Mason’s Ourselves (Book 4 of the Home Education Series)
Ourselves, the fourth volume of Charlotte Mason's Classic Homeschooling Series, is a character curriculum book written directly to children. Book I, Self-Knowledge, is for elementary school students; Book II, Self-Direction, is for older students. Self-Knowledge discusses our human desires and appetites; the "helpers" in our minds, such as intellect, sense of beauty, imagination, and reason; the ways in which we feel and express love for others, including sympathy, kindness, generosity, gratitude, courage, loyalty, and humilty; and truth, justice, and integrity; and ends by encourages children to develop the habit of being useful. Self-Direction is an in-depth discussion of the conscience and virtues such as temperance, chastity, fortitude, and prudence; the will and self-control; and the soul and its capacities, such as prayer, thanksgiving, faith, and praise. Charlotte Mason was a late nineteenth-century British educator whose ideas were far ahead of her time. She believed that children are born persons worthy of respect, rather than blank slates, and that it was better to feed their growing minds with living literature and vital ideas and knowledge, rather than dry facts and knowledge filtered and pre-digested by the teacher. Her method of education, still used by some private schools and many homeschooling families, is gentle and flexible, especially with younger children, and includes first-hand exposure to great and noble ideas through books in each school subject, conveying wonder and arousing curiosity, and through reflection upon great art, music, and poetry; nature observation as the primary means of early science teaching; use of manipulatives and real-life application to understand mathematical concepts and learning to reason, rather than rote memorization and working endless sums; and an emphasis on character and on cultivating and maintaining good personal habits.More info →
The Politics is one of the most influential texts in the history of political thought, and it raises issues which still confront anyone who wants to think seriously about the ways in which human societies are organized and governed. By examining the way societies are run--from households to
city states--Aristotle establishes how successful constitutions can best be initiated and upheld.
For this edition, Sir Ernest Barker's fine translation, which has been widely used for nearly half a century, has been extensively revised to meet the needs of the modern reader. The accessible introduction and clear notes examine the historical and philosophical background of the work and discuss its significance for modern political thought.
European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages
In this "magnificent book" (T. S. Eliot), Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956), one of the foremost literary scholars of this century, examines the continuity of European literature from Homer to Goethe, with particular emphasis on the Latin Middle Ages. In an extensive new epilogue, drawing on hitherto unpublished material, Peter Godman analyzes the intellectual and political context and character of Curtius's ideas.More info →
The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature
In The Discarded Image, C.S. Lewis paints a lucid picture of the medieval world view, providing the historical and cultural background to the literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It describes the "image" discarded by later years as "the medieval synthesis itself, the whole organization of their theology, science and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe." This, Lewis’s last book, has been hailed as "the final memorial to the work of a great scholar and teacher and a wise and noble mind."More info →
A new, beautifully laid-out edition of the 1892 translation by Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893) of Plato's classic work.More info →
Institutes of Oratory
This is the first single-volume English translation of the "Institutio Oratoria," a treatise on all stages of the orator’s education that was written in Latin under the emperor Domitian (81–96 CE) by the Roman rhetorician and teacher Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, commonly known as Quintilian. In the course of twelve books Quintilian discusses the education of young children, rhetorical theory (including discussion of invention of arguments, arrangement, style, memory, and performance), literary criticism and history, gesture, rhythm, the ethics of persuasion, and much more. It is a treatise that has had a profound influence on education from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance and into the present day. This translation is based on that of the Rev. John Selby Watson, originally published in 1856 in two volumes and now in the public domain. For this edition the editors have updated Watson's widely admired and already very readable translation to reflect 21st century usage. Several other editions of Watson’s translation of Quintilian’s “Institutes” are available, but these are unrevised scans (often of low quality) of out-of-copyright editions and usually include only half the work, even if the title states “in twelve volumes” (this designation is copied from the title page to Watson’s original edition in two volumes). This completely re-typeset edition is the only edition of Watson’s translation to include Quintilian’s complete text in one volume.More info →
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination
As the popularity of William Bennett's Book of Virtues attests, parents are turning more and more to children's literature to help instill values in their kids. Now, in this elegantly written and passionate book, Vigen Guroian provides the perfect complement to books such as Bennett's, offering parents and teachers a much-needed roadmap to some of our finest children's stories.
Guroian illuminates the complex ways in which fairy tales and fantasies educate the moral imagination from earliest childhood. Examining a wide range of stories--from "Pinocchio" and "The Little Mermaid" to "Charlotte's Web," "The Velveteen Rabbit," "The Wind in the Willows," and the "Chronicles of Narnia"--he argues that these tales capture the meaning of morality through vivid depictions of the struggle between good and evil, in which characters must make difficult choices between right and wrong, or heroes and villains contest the very fate of imaginary worlds. Character and the virtues are depicted compellingly in these stories; the virtues glimmer as if in a looking glass, and wickedness and deception are unmasked of their pretensions to goodness and truth. We are made to face the unvarnished truth about ourselves, and what kind of people we want to be.
Throughout, Guroian highlights the classical moral virtues such as courage, goodness, and honesty, especially as they are understood in traditional Christianity. At the same time, he so persuasively evokes the enduring charm of these familiar works that many readers will be inspired to reread their favorites and explore those they may have missed.