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The Humanities and the Dream of America$
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Geoffrey Galt Harpham

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226316970

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226317014.001.0001

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The Depths of the Heights: Reading Conrad with Americas Military

The Depths of the Heights: Reading Conrad with Americas Military

(p.191) 7 The Depths of the Heights: Reading Conrad with Americas Military
The Humanities and the Dream of America

Geoffrey Galt Harpham

University of Chicago Press

The humanities have been the subject of an immense quantity of elevated rhetoric. Distinguished people have described and defended the need for a national investment in teaching and research in literary studies, history, philosophy, and the arts. Hard training is required in order to achieve an understanding so deeply counterintuitive. As humanistic study imbues people with a moral imagination, the real burden of the humanities, as opposed to their manifold pleasures and benefits, does not fall on professors, students, or the culture-loving population in general. In a culture whose commitment to the freedom of the individual often seems to begin with the freedom from guilt, the military perspective on the humanities is well worth pondering. The humanities keep one honest and human, reminding of the capacity for committing unspeakable violence and of ability to outface brutality through the transformative power of art.

Keywords:   humanities, military perspective, national investment, literary studies, individual

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