Friday, March 10, 2006

Troubled times for the humanities

If Petrarch, Pius, Alberti, and the other major writers in the ITRL could look down on the world today, they would surely be shocked at how badly their plans for posthumous fame had gone awry. Their guarantee of immortality, Latin, has itself become a dead language. More, the Western world is currently in the midst of questioning all their cherished assumptions about the value of literature, education, and the studia humanitatis. No longer can we so ardently embrace Vergerio’s prescription for human flourishing: “What way of life, then, can be more delightful, or indeed more beneficial, than to read and write all the time?”

--Adam Kirsch, "Rereading the Renaissance," Harvard Magazine

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