ERIC Number: ED351686
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Oct-23
Reference Count: N/A
Transcending Difference: The Place of the Classics in the Curriculum of the '90s.
Dixon, James G., III
A close examination of the classics of western civilization reveals values that transcend any narrow definition and so absolve the classical tradition from the accusations leveled against it for being mere "representations" of the dominant culture. The classical tradition, with its values of individualism, freedom, and human dignity, has always, at its best, sought to affirm a wisdom that transcends race, gender, and nationality. Grove City College has initiated a revision of its core curriculum--a three-year sequence entitled the "Civilization Series" that guides every student through the great literary, philosophical, and religious works of western civilization and introduces them to other major world civilizations. New Historicism's diminishment of the classics to mere curiosities of a particular mindset of a particular time elevates the half truth of a work's historical context into the full truth about that work. Dante's use of Beatrice in "The Divine Comedy" is an example of the universal human need for symbols of the transcendent. In Homer are the seeds of what would later flower into a more universal sense of human dignity, freedom, equality, and rights. The Civilization Series at Grove City College recognizes the belief structure implicit in the great works of literature. The goal is unapologetically to elucidate that belief structure and to examine the best that has been thought or written in the West. Current curricular reforms must affirm the value of the classics that have given the world humanistic ideals it has recently come to cherish. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Issues; Grove City College PA; Literary Canon
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (23rd, Pittsburgh, PA, March 27-29, 1992).