Saturday, June 23, 2007

Classic Literature


There are many reasons to study classic literature.

Dr. Elizabeth Kantor lays out of few of them in this excellent article.

Unfortunately, the obscurants who run the education establishment (William Bennett calls this liberal influential admixture of powerful unions, schools of education, and organizations "
the Blob") are social utilitarians and denigrate classics instead of promoting them.

They don't come right out and admit this fact, of course; rather, they subtlely attempt to destroy the heritage by absurdly claiming it is irrelevant, the "dead white males" comment one hears so often, or racistly claiming it has no relevance for minorities and must be replaced by modern "multicultural" writings. What these liberals really are saying is that if Johnny has brown skin he cannot possibly relate to Shakespeare. This is the classic definition of a racist, and these racists run the "Blob."

In any case, liberals are stating that literature has no place in their future social utopia they are so striving to bring about.

Conservatives, on the other hand, want to preserve our great heritage. For example, at
CPAC this year, there was a prominent place for literature. There were several panels devoted to education and academic subject matter. In Latin "conservo" means "to keep, to preserve," and conservatives want to preserve our great democratic values and our magnificent Western classical and Christian heritage.

This is in contrast to liberals, who are out to destroy our heritage. Again, these liberals are the ones running the public schools, which is reason #957,123 to snatch your kids out of public schools and make sure they are going to conservative private Catholic (or other denomination that respects our American heritage) schools.

If you either would like to study literature for yourself or need some homeschooling materials, here are three great resources, well worth purchasing as references:
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature by Elizabeth Kantor. Like the all the books in the Politically Incorrect series, this is an excellent and fun introduction to a subject liberals have either dumbed down, denigrated, or obscured. Throughout the book, Kantor refers you to other references that will be invaluable in your enriching journey studying our great heritage in literature.
  • A Student's Guide to Literature by R.V. Young. Like all the books in the wonderful ISI Guides to the Major Disciplines series, this one is only few dozen pages but jam packed with concise and valuable information. This whole series would make a great addition to your library, and they are not expensive. On a side note, ISI had a booth at CPAC this year. It was Sunday, the last day of the conference, and I asked how much some of the other books in the series were. The girl said she would give me the whole series (about 15 books) all for just $20. That made my day!
  • The bestseller The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn by Diane Ravitch. This is an absolutely terrific and stunning expose on the politically correct textbooks schools use, but it is also a rally call for bringing back our heritage in literature and history. Best of all, there is the invaluable reference in an appendix "The Atkinson-Ravitch Sampler of Classic Literature for Home and School." It is not just a list but also a explanation of the value of each work (some of them have been unfortunately collectively forgotten by the population as a whole) and the books listed are guaranteed to enrich one's life. For instance, in the list for "10th grade" (the grades are arbitrary and interchangeable according to choice), you have Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, Catherine Drinker Bowen's Miracle at Philadelphia, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Vilette, Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier," Willa Cather's My Antonia, Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s Two Years Before the Mast, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois' The Soul of Black Folks, Alexander Dumas' The Three Muskateers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Man in the Iron Mask, George Eliot's Romola and Silas Marner, etc. (I'm only up to "E.")
Embarking upon the voyage of great literature is a life-enriching experience that should not be denied to anybody, yet liberals have attempted in the name of a future socialist utopia to deny all American children this part of our Western heritage. Unfortunately, many of us who graduated from public schools are heirs to obscurantism. However, there is an easy remedy, which can be begun with throwing off the shackle of liberalism and embracing our heritage.

3 comments:

diana said...

I am indefinitely getting The Language Police...Luckily we use Seton homeschooling so the reading list will mesh!

jeremayakovka said...

(applause, applause) (cheers) (applause)

I'm sitting in my personal library right now, most of whose titles I sought ought apart from college, on my own, often prodded by internet surfing.

a couple of further reads:

* Who Killed Homer? by Victor Hanson and John Heath, analyzes the demise of Classics over the past generation. It concludes with a list of recommended reads for those who want to keep Classics alive.

* for those who've already read Whittaker Chambers's Witness, see also Cold Friday and Odyssey of a Friend. The latter books are full of ruminations by a man who halfway through life found God, and who reflects on the desperate spiritual straits of Western Civ, including his own detrimental college days at Columbia U.

Gabe said...

Diana- It's great that you are homeschooling. It is the best way for kids to get an excellent and productive education. During my master's in education, I was turned off by the public school the more I learned the history and philosophy of public (and most private) education.

Jeremiah- Thanks for the recommendations. Who Killed Homer? is a terrific book. It made me want to study Latin and classical history and culture.