Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin

Overview

Discussions of educational reform often involve windy talk of a "return to the classics," yet rarely do would-be reformers go so far as to advocate a return to education in the classical languages themselves. That is a program that strikes even the most stalwart critics of contemporary educational mediocrity as quixotic, and perhaps even undesirable.Tracy Lee Simmons readily concedes that there is little reason to hope for a widespread renascence in the teaching of Greek and Latin to our nation's schoolchildren. ...
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Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin

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Overview

Discussions of educational reform often involve windy talk of a "return to the classics," yet rarely do would-be reformers go so far as to advocate a return to education in the classical languages themselves. That is a program that strikes even the most stalwart critics of contemporary educational mediocrity as quixotic, and perhaps even undesirable.Tracy Lee Simmons readily concedes that there is little reason to hope for a widespread renascence in the teaching of Greek and Latin to our nation's schoolchildren. But in this concise and elegantly wrought brief, he argues that, whatever its immediate prospects, an education in the classical languages is of inestimable personal and cultural value. Simmons first sketches the development of educational practice in the schools of the classical and Renaissance eras. He then presents a lively narrative of the fortunes of classical learning in the modern age, including accounts of the classical tongues' influence on some of the West's most prominent writers and statesmen, including, among many others, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Arnold, Theodore Roosevelt, Evelyn Waugh, and C. S. Lewis. Simmons demonstrates the personally cultivating and intellectually liberating qualities that study of the Greek and Latin authors in their own languages has historically provided. Further, by tracing the historical trajectory of Greek and Latin education, Simmons is able to show that the classical languages have played a crucial role in the development of authentic Humanism, the foundation of the West's cultural order and America's understanding of itself as a union of citizens.In Climbing Parnassus Simmons presents the reader not so much with a program for educational renewal as with a defense and vindication of the formative power of Greek and Latin. His persuasive witness to the unique, now all-but-forgotten advantages of study in, and of, the classical languages constitutes a bracing reminder of the genuine aims of a truly liberal education.
About the Author

Tracy Lee Simmons is a journalist who writes widely on literary and cultural matters. He holds a master's degree in the classics from Oxford.
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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Simmons's fascinating tour through the pedagogical history of the classics may be his chief contribution to the debat.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933859507
  • Publisher: ISI Books
  • Publication date: 9/15/2007
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 290
  • Sales rank: 687,363
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Tracy Lee Simmons is Director of Hillsdale College’s Dow Program in American Journalism. He holds a master’s degree in classics from Oxford.

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Table of Contents

Foreword, by William F. Buckley Jr.
Preface
A Few Notes at Base Camp
Bent Twigs and Trees Inclined: Liberal Education, the Humanities, and the Quest for a Common Mind: The Foothills of Classical Education
Prospect from the Castalian Spring: The Long Ascent of Classical Education from Ancient to Modern Times
Traveling through the Realms of Gold: The Balms of Greek and Latin
Bibliography
Index
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