Guardians of the Humanist Legacy: The Classicism of T.S. Eliot's Criterion Network and its Relevance to our Postmodern World

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In recent scholarly work, T.S. Eliot has usually been associated with cultural elitism and political conservatism, or even with proto-fascism and anti-Semitism. This book proposes a different view. During the Interbellum, Eliot and his review The Criterion were part of an international network of intellectuals that shared an open-minded Europeanness. Authors like T. Mann, Benda, Ortega y Gasset, Curtius and Hofmannsthal emphasized their common European roots and shared cultural legacy. Their 'classicism' stands in the European tradition of humanism and has remained highly relevant. Classicist ideas about literature, education and human culture in general continue to inspire contemporary humanist thinkers, as the second part of this book demonstrates by discussing the work of Ferry, Todorov, Steiner, Scruton, Toulmin and others.
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Biographical Note

Jeroen Vanheste, Ph.D (2007) in Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen, is teacher and essayist. He has published in particular on cultural criticism, the philosophy of culture and education, and the European tradition of humanism.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements, List of Illustrations

1. Introduction and Overview

PART I. CLASSICISM IN THE INTERBELLUM
2. A Network of Reviews and Intellectuals
3. Classicism and the Humanistic Tradition
4. The Philosophy of Classicism
5. Classicism and the Idea of Europe
6. The Cultural Criticism of Classicism
7. Classicist Views on Literature and Art

PART II. CONTEMPORARY HUMANISM AND ANTI-HUMANISM
8. Anti-Humanism after WW2
9. Contemporary Humanist Voices
10. A Secular Humanism for Our Time
11. Classicism, Postwar Humanism and After

Appendix A. The Criterion: A Brief History
Appendix B. Bibliography

Index

Readership

All those interested in 20th century intellectual history, humanism, T.S. Eliot, literary modernism, the philosophy of culture, and contemporary humanists like Ferry, Todorov, Scruton and Steiner.

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