The Liberal Education of Charles Eliot Norton
This book is the first major biography of this towering figure in American journalism, letters, and education. Norton was editor of the North American Review and a founder of the Nation. He was the leading American Dantist of his day, translating the Vita Nuova and the Divine Comedy in what became standard versions. He initiated art history in the college curriculum, organized the field of classical archaeology in the United States, and formulated what has come to be known in college courses as "Western Civilization.". "James Turner's biography offers the first full account of Norton's life and its significance, following him from his perilous travels across India as a young merchant to his role as his country's preeminent cultural critic - an American analogue to John Ruskin and Matthew Arnold, his close friends. "Most importantly, Turner shows how Norton developed the key ideas that still underlie the humanities, historicism, and culture and how his influence endures in America's colleges and universities because of institutions he developed and models he devised. Drawing on nearly a hundred archives in the United States, Britain, and Italy, The Liberal Education of Charles Eliot Norton reveals a new picture of the beginnings of the humanities in American higher education.
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