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The Grammar of Our Civility
Classical Education in America
The pragmatic demands of American life have made higher education’s sustained study of ancient Greece and Rome an irrelevant luxury—and this despite the fact that American democracy depends so heavily on classical language, literature, and political theory. In The Grammar of Our Civility, Lee T. Pearcy chronicles how this came to be. Pearcy argues that classics never developed a distinctly American way of responding to distinctly American social conditions. Instead, American classical education simply imitated European models that were designed to underwrite European culture. The Grammar of Our Civility also offers a concrete proposal for the role of classical education, one that takes into account practical expectations for higher education in twenty-first century America.
1. The Grammar of Our Civility
2. The American Dialect
3. Finis: Four Arguments against Classics
4. Prolegomena to a Pragmatic Classicism
Wearing his immense learning lightly, Lee T. Pearcy cogently and eloquently synthesizes a vast amount of previous scholarship to envision a new form of American classical education.
—Judith P. Hallett, University of Maryland, College Park
The Grammar of Our Civility is a cri de coeur on behalf of reestablishing classical studies at the core of a new curriculum, one that draws on the distinctly American contact with the classical tradition.
—Ward W. Briggs, Jr., Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics, University of South Carolina
Lee T. Pearcy is the Director of Curriculum and Lounsbery Chair in Classics at the Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pennsylvania. Pearcy has authored or coauthored The Homeric Hymn to Apollo (1981), Mediated Muse (1984), The Shorter Homeric Hymns (1989), New First Steps in Latin (1999), New Second Steps in Latin (2001), and New Third Steps in Latin (2003).