New Book Offers Practical Proposal for Classical Education

Aug. 29, 2005

by Julie Carlson

Baylor University Press recently released a book that examines how to retool classical education to meet distinct American education needs. "The Grammar of Our Civility: Classical Education in America," by Lee T. Pearcy, makes the case for the value of classical studies in contemporary U.S. society.

Pearcy explains how the pragmatic demands of American life have made higher education's sustained study of ancient Greece and Rome an irrelevant luxury, even though American democracy depends so heavily on classical language, literature and political theory.

Chronicling how American classical education simply imitated European models that were designed to underwrite European culture, Pearcy argues that classics never developed a distinctly American way of responding to distinctly American social conditions. However, he offers a concrete proposal for the role of classical education that takes into account practical expectations for higher education in 21st century America.

Ward W. Briggs Jr., Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics at the University of South Carolina, writes, "Lee Pearcy offers the first comprehensive examination of the history and purposes of classical study in our schools throughout our nation's history and calls for a radical transformation not only of our scholarship but also of our presentation of the ancient world."

Pearcy, who received his doctorate from Bryn Mawr College, is the director of curriculum and Lounsbery Chair in Classics at the Episcopal Academy in Merion, Penn. He has authored or coauthored "The Homeric Hymn to Apollo Mediated Muse," "The Shorter Homeric Hymns," "New First Steps in Latin," "New Second Steps in Latin" and "New Third Steps in Latin."

For more information, contact Pearcy at (610) 667-9612 .

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