By Alex Beam
In A nice thought on the Time Alex Beam explores the good Books mania, in an pleasing and surprisingly poignant portrait of yankee pop culture at the threshold of the tv age. Populated with memorable characters, A nice concept on the Time will go away readers asking themselves: Have I learn LucretiusвЂ™s De Rerum Natura in recent years? If no longer, why not?
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Extra info for A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books
In the same vein, Hutchins tried to appoint three of Adler’s cronies to a specially formed Committee on the Liberal Arts, created to circumvent faculty scrutiny. But the Faculty Senate fought back, and clipped Hutchins’s wings for good measure. Two of the cronies in question, Scott Buchanan and the improbably named Stringfellow Barr, known as “Winkie,” stomped off to found St. John’s College, the oldest and most prestigious all-Great-Books-all-the-time college in the world. Even before Hutchins set foot on campus, the faculty was proposing to reform the undergraduate curriculum.
He was “collar-ad” handsome, with the kind of good looks one saw in magazine advertisements. Black wasn’t his color. Hutchins was wearing white tennis trousers, a white T-shirt, and sneakers. Assuming that one of the learned professor’s children had answered the door, Adler stuttered, as he often did when flustered. “I am here to see Mr. ” “That’s me,” replied the vision in white. ” And so the Talmudic Terrier met the Boy Wonder. There are many ways to characterize the unlikely pairing, and the lifelong friendship and collaboration, of Hutchins and Adler: Hutchins as Don Quixote, Adler as Sancho Panza.
Chicago in 1929 was like the Incredible Hulk, America’s second-largest city, bursting out of its carapace, swollen with immigrants, capital, hustlers, poets, muckrakers, ideas, world-beating architecture, and enviable energy. Historian Mary Ann Dzuback writes that in Chicago, “[p]olitical and economic power was divided unevenly” among a corrupt Democratic political machine, “bootlegging gangsters whose most notable representative was Al Capone,” and the wealthy industrialists of the downtown Loop: the Marshall Fields of department-store fame, the meatpacking Swifts, the reaperrich McCormicks, and many others.
A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books by Alex Beam