Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beginning of the journey

With the centennial of the publication of "Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf of Books" -- otherwise known as the Harvard Classics -- coming up in 2009, I am launching this blog to both celebrate this anniversary and to try an experiment.

Dr. Charles W. Eliot, the former Harvard president who edited the series, maintained that if one read just 15 minutes a day from the 51 volumes he assembled, it would constitute "a good substitute for a liberal education to anyone who would read them with devotion."

Using the daily reading guide that was included with the 1930 edition of the Harvard Classics, we'll go through 2009 reading the guide's suggested work for each day of the year. I'll offer some commentary on each day's readings.

Until we begin the day-by-day posts on January 1, 2009, I'll put up some material related to the Classics. Together, we'll try to answer this question -- what does a collection of literature assembled a century ago have to teach us in a post-modern, post-literate and post-logic America?

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