With humor, lucidity, and unflinching rigor, the acclaimed authors of Who Killed Homer? and Plagues of the Mind unsparingly document the degeneration of a central, if beleaguered, discipline—classics—and reveal the root causes of its decline. Hanson, Heath, and Thornton point to academics themselves—their careerist ambitions, incessant self-promotion, and overspecialized scholarship, among other things—as the progenitors of the crisis, and call for a return to “academic populism,” an approach characterized by accessible, unspecialized writing, selfless commitment to students and teaching, and respect for the legacy of freedom and democracy that the ancients bequeathed to the West.
Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ORD); May 2014
- ISBN: 9781497651609
- Read online, or download in secure ePub format
- Title: Bonfire of the Humanities
- Author: Bruce S Thornton; Victor Davis Hanson; John Heath
Imprint: Intercollegiate Studies Institute
In The Press
“The authors, who define their own enterprise as ‘academic populism,’ address this [academic] elitism and hypocrisy in a series of scathing essays and book reviews.” —Publishers Weekly
“This is an important book for those who wish to give the classics a primary place in the education of our youth and for all those who care about quality teaching.” —Sunday Times
“Readers who enjoy common sense expressed in vigorous prose are going to love Bonfire of the Humanities.” —Academic Questions
“This is a valuable book for its sustained attempt to stimulate thought about how classics and the humanities in general should be approached.” —Bryn Mawr Classical Review
About The Author
Bruce S. Thornton grew up on a cattle ranch in Fresno, California. His father was a cowboy and a barber who never attended high school, his mother the child of Italian immigrants. From an early age, Thornton worked on the ranch, and from the experience he acquired a practical realism, a clear-eyed acceptance of the concrete, harsh realities sometimes overlooked or ignored in the ivory-tower academy. He received his B.A. in Latin and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA and is currently professor of Classics and Humanities in the Department of Foreign Languages at California State University in Fresno. Thornton is the author of Eros: The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality, Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization, and Plagues of the Mind.
Victor Davis Hanson is a professor of Greek and Director of the Classics Program at California State University, Fresno. He is the author or editor of nine books, including The Other Greeks (Free Press, 1995), Fields Without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Ideal (Free Press, 1996), Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom (with John Heath, Free Press, 1998), and The Soul of Battle (Free Press, 1999). In 1992 he was named the most outstanding undergraduate teacher of classics in the nation.
John Heath is associate professor of classics at Santa Clara University. His books include Actaeon, the Unmannerly Intruder (Peter Lang, 1992) and Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Educationand theRecovery of Greek Wisdom (with Victor Davis Hanson, Free Press, 1998).