The Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties: From Self-Improvement to Adult Education in America, 1750-1990

Overview

This first history of nontraditional education in America traces the emergence of continuing and adult education from roots in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century popular self-improvement movements - the efforts of autodidacts, literary societies, mechanics' institutes, lyceums, Chautauqua, and the early experiments with university extension in the 1880's and 1890's. The book persuasively links developments in the realm of popular self-improvement to cultural and social forces. It describes the way in which ...
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1996 Paperback Brand new book. Fast shipping form our UK warehouse in eco-friendly packaging. Fast, efficient and friendly customer service. Please note that this item is being ... sent from United Kingdom, allow 4-14 days for delivery. All the orders are shipped same or next working day. Fast and friendly customer service. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

This first history of nontraditional education in America traces the emergence of continuing and adult education from roots in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century popular self-improvement movements - the efforts of autodidacts, literary societies, mechanics' institutes, lyceums, Chautauqua, and the early experiments with university extension in the 1880's and 1890's. The book persuasively links developments in the realm of popular self-improvement to cultural and social forces. It describes the way in which scholars and literati employed the diffusion of knowledge to establish a ground of sympathy between themselves and the public, and it explores the reasons why ordinary citizens turned to the cultivation of knowledge. By investigating both the intentions of leaders and the responses of followers, the author reveals a great deal about the motives that have driven the voluntary pursuit of knowledge in America. He also traces the complex relations between Chautauqua and similar informal institutions of popular self-improvement and such formal institutions of education as high schools and colleges.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Opening new territory in social-cultural history, this important book uncovers a wealth of fresh and little-known material on non-formal education, a subject that no one before Kett quite realized is a subject. In the process, he also tells us an enormous amount about formal education, social aspiration, and cultural values over a span of more than two centuries. The book will be useful to students of American education and to historical and literary scholars of American culture. Especially valued will be Kett's attention to the special role of women, to class differences, and to the comparative history of popular education in the United States and Great Britain."—Dorothy Ross, The Johns Hopkins University

"As with Kett's other works, it is an excellent thematic study that blends intellectual and social history. It is based on prodigious research and is a pleasure to read, for it combines a broad sweep and bold statement with delightful detail. It should appeal to both scholars and general readers."—Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Smith College

"Joseph F. Kett has produced another distinguished volume. . . . A striking feature of Kett's book is its careful inclusion of succinct accounts of . . . the traditional stuff of educational history. The book adroitly interweaves this conventional history with the learning experiences of Americans who, because of economic circumstances, age, gender-based exclusion, or geographical isolation, were 'out of school.'"—History of Education Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804726801
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 601
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Literature, Philosophy, and Self-Education in Eighteenth-Century America 1
2 The Uses of Knowledge in Antebellum America 38
3 Strenuous Learning and the Diffusion of Knowledge 77
4 "The Liberal and Practical Education of the Industrial Classes" 102
5 The Homely Renaissance, 1870-1900 142
6 The Decline of Culture, 1890-1900 180
7 From Useful Knowledge to Job Improvement, 1870-1930 223
8 Higher Education and the Challenge of Job Improvement 257
9 Educating the Public, 1900-1925 293
10 The Electric Fire of Thought 331
11 The Art of Living 370
12 The Learning Society 403
Epilogue 449
Notes 457
Index 561
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