The study of the humanities is nowadays praised by every foundation president, university chancellor, and federal secretary of education as the academic and intellectual bulwark of our civilization. To listen to their pronouncements, one would think that the only problems affecting the humanities today are to be found in the amount of federal funding that should be allocated to the campus for education in the humanities and the kind of curriculum that can best serve to make their importance apparent to college students. But there is another, deeper, more complicated, and more interesting issue affecting the humanities today—a debate that is important for the campus now and for American culture as a whole in the closing years of the twentieth century. This is an issue that will determine how we and our children and grandchildren view the past, read a work of literature, listen to music, look at paintings and sculpture, and perceive our culture in...

 
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