- Arthur Kristal on the canon.
"It wasn’t until John Erskine of Columbia and Robert Maynard Hutchins of the University of Chicago lobbied, in the 1920s, for a list of indispensable works in literature and philosophy that the canon became equated with a syllabus.
"More than anyone else, however, it was Erskine’s student Mortimer J. Adler who popularized the idea of the Great Books. Adler, who also ended up at Chicago, went on to write the best-selling How to Read a Book (1940), whose appendix of 'Recommended Reading' (all of it 'over most people’s heads') served as a springboard for the 1952 Encyclopædia Britannica’s ancillary fifty-four-volume series of Great Books of the Western World, selected by — who else? — Adler and Hutchins."
- Mortimer Adler on Infinity as a Great Idea.
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