Back to Texas

I will be lecturing tomorrow, Thursday, November 17 at the University of Texas at Austin. My lecture is entitled “Why Great Books?” and is being sponsored by the Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas.

I described my talk as follows:

It is often assumed that the content of the Great Books can sufficiently justify their study. What if this is not the case? Could it be that some Great Books are responsible for the decline of the study of Great Books? Is it possible the idea of “greatness” is itself a problem for Great Books? In this lecture, a case will be made instead for “Modest Books.”

Austin-area readers are warmly invited. 4 p.m. in UTC 3.124.

7 comments on this post.
  1. Jason Joseph:

    Encourage them to make a webcast of it. They’ve stopped doing so for awhile.

  2. Barry A. McCain:

    Good thing you’re not giving your talk at the Univ. of Dallas. You might have a riot on your hands with that thesis.

  3. JD Salyer:

    “Could it be that some Great Books are responsible for the decline of the study of Great Books?”

    Excellent point.

  4. Dwight Lindley:


    He’s likely to have had just as much push-back from the Jefferson Center crowd down at UT as he would have at UDallas, as the Pangles, who run the JC, are died-in-the-wool Great Books Straussians. At UD, while there are still a number of Straussians, there are also a great many others who don’t think of greatness out of its context.

  5. Barry A. McCain:

    Thanks for that clarification, Dwight. Heretofore I was ignorant of just what the Jefferson Center is. Just goes to show how “un-Academic” I am.

    Also, could you clarify thc comment “don’t think of greatness out of its context”? Do you mean any kind of greatness, the specific “greatness” of certain texts, or something else entirely?

  6. Barry A. McCain:

    How’d the talk go? Is there a transcript available online anywhere?

  7. Anymouse:

    I would also be interested in a transcript.

Leave a comment