The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had (Updated and Expanded)
Susan Wise Bauer
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The enduring and engaging guide to educating yourself in the classical tradition.
Have you lost the art of reading for pleasure? Are there books you know you should read but haven’t because they seem too daunting? In The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer provides a welcome and encouraging antidote to the distractions of our age, electronic and otherwise.
Newly expanded and updated to include standout works from the twenty-first century as well as essential readings in science (from the earliest works of Hippocrates to the discovery of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs), The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of six literary genres―fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry, and science―accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type. The annotated lists at the end of each chapter―ranging from Cervantes to Cormac McCarthy, Herodotus to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Aristotle to Stephen Hawking―preview recommended reading and encourage readers to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing.
The Well-Educated Mind reassures those readers who worry that they read too slowly or with below-average comprehension. If you can understand a daily newspaper, there’s no reason you can’t read and enjoy Shakespeare’s sonnets or Jane Eyre. But no one should attempt to read the “Great Books” without a guide and a plan. Bauer will show you how to allocate time to reading on a regular basis; how to master difficult arguments; how to make personal and literary judgments about what you read; how to appreciate the resonant links among texts within a genre―what does Anna Karenina owe to Madame Bovary?―and also between genres.
In her best-selling work on home education, The Well-Trained Mind, the author provided a road map of classical education for parents wishing to home-school their children; that book is now the premier resource for home-schoolers. In The Well-Educated Mind, Bauer takes the same elements and techniques and adapts them to the use of adult readers who want both enjoyment and self-improvement from the time they spend reading. Followed carefully, her advice will restore and expand the pleasure of the written word.
place to do this; there's much more chaff than wheat online. There are, however, several Web sites that offer plot outlines of great books along with very brief essays that survey critical issues: try www.pinkmonkey .com and www.sparknotes.com.At www.jollyroger.com, a Web site devoted to the discussion of Great Books, you can post your ideas on message boards and wait for reactions—although, again, you have no way of knowing how "expert" other participants in the discussion might be. If you live
raised by his grandparents; they are loving and kind, skilled at fishing and gardening, well respected by their neighbors. But when he is old enough to work, Douglass is taken to his master's plantation and abandoned amid a crowd of other children. Stripped of his family identity, he is treated like an animal (the children eat from a trough "like so many pigs"). But Douglass refuses to be an animal, instead struggling toward a new understanding of himself. He learns to read despite his master's
beautiful Australian landscape. It is this landscape—and the demands it makes on those who try to live in it—that shapes Conway's childhood and adolescence. She is born on a remote Australian sheep farm, the unexpected youngest child in a family of boys, and from her earliest days carries the image of the "ideal woman" as thrifty, tough, unemotional, a good manager who "was toughened by adversity, laughed at her fears, knew how to fix things which broke in the house, and stifled any craving she
patriotism: just the ability to see and touch and feel and hear the physical world, and to reason about it. Everything that man knows, he has learned by analyzing the evidence of his senses. This is the source of all knowledge, and man's reason—dealing with tangible, physical evidence in a way that is completely reliable and unbiased—becomes the ultimate source of truth. Man's mind is the "enlightener." The Christian impulse to look for an overall meaning to historical events remained. But
Jeremy Popkin remarks, Postmodernism has brought a great strength to the practice of history by showing that "apparently trivial events, such as the death of an utterly unknown Chinese woman of the seventeenth century, can provide important insights into historical process," but these "studies of single lives often . . . leave historians frustrated: the evidence is never complete and conclusive enough to answer all our questions about life in the past."1 Postmodernism tends to be the scholarship