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Title:The Great Books and Cultural Identity: The Rise and Fall of Western Memory and Its Implications for Our Time (Reading in 2010: Ch. 10)
Author(s):Sheets, Diana
Subject(s):cultural identity
western literature
great books
Abstract:The great books have encapsulated the historical and cultural foundations of modern Western Civilization since the age of Gutenberg, although the works that informed the Canon extend back to the Greco-Roman Empire and forward beyond the 1969 American ―manned‖ moon landing. This heritage survived a challenge in the years preceding World War I only to be undermined by the ―Culture Wars‖ that began in the 1960‘s and climaxed by the early 1990‘s. As this essay will demonstrate, the Great Books movement was ultimately felled by a triumvirate of false virtues: cultural relativism, social justice, and feminization, which served to replace excellence with a child-centric perspective founded on empathy. Enter the new medium, the Internet, with its emphasis on image and sound supplemented by some rudimentary text, and a ―secondary orality‖ is born where the narcissistic self has no social or cultural foundation with which to navigate the world of ideas. Hence, consciousness dims, the voices that speak within are misinterpreted as those of deities, and our civilization flounders. Thus ensues a devolutionary spiral with catastrophic consequences. Today, we bear witness to this cultural demise as we stand upon the remnants of our desecrated civilization.
Issue Date:2010
Publisher:Nova Science Publishers, Inc
Citation Info:Sheets, Diana. 2010. The Humanities in Crisis: The Great Books and Cultural Identity: The Rise and Fall of Western Memory and Its Implications for Our Time. Ch. 10 in Reading in 2010, Ed. Michael F. Shaughnessy. Nova Science Publishers, Inc.: 155-174.
Genre:Book Chapter
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-24

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