|About the Book|
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 theMoreDiscussions 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 nations 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 Wests 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 Wests cultural order and Americas understanding of itself as a union of citizens.In Climbing ParnassusSimmons 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 AuthorTracy Lee Simmons is a journalist who writes widely on literary and cultural matters. He holds a masters degree in the classics from Oxford.