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The Well-Educated Mind (Updated & Expanded Edition)

$29.95

Educate yourself in the classical tradition with this engaging and practical guide (revised and updated to include standout works from the twenty-first century, as well as essential readings in science).

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The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of six literary genres – fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry, and science – accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type. The annotated lists at the end of each chapter – ranging from Cervantes to Cormac McCarthy, Herodotus to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Aristotle to Stephen Hawking – preview recommended reading and encourage readers to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing.

The Well-Educated Mind reassures those readers who worry that they read too slowly or with below-average comprehension. If you can understand a daily newspaper, there’s no reason you can’t read and enjoy Shakespeare’s sonnets or Jane Eyre. But no one should attempt to read the “Great Books” without a guide and a plan. This book shows you how to allocate time to reading on a regular basis; how to master difficult arguments; how to make personal and literary judgments about what you read; and how to appreciate the resonant links among texts within a genre – what does Anna Karenina owe to Madame Bovary? – as well as between genres.

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  1. Question

    Deborah Reid

    Is the book essentially a list of recommended reading or does it include excerpts and essays from each category to read directly in it?

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful

      WTM Press Minion

      It’s a lot more than just a list! It contains chapters on how to get the most out of the history, fiction, drama, poetry, etc that you read (including the best ways to take notes, etc), as well as explanations/histories of how each of these types of writing evolved over time.

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  2. Question

    jefmurphy

    Is this a hardcover edition?

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  3. Question

    Vicky Schindler

    Perhaps I missed it but I do not see Ulysses by James Joyce on the list. Considering it has been recommended as one of the best books of the 20th century, is there a reason why it is not on the list? Thanks very much.

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    • One person found this helpful

      Answer Desk

      A list of great books can never be ‘complete’ even if one wishes it to be; in this case, the lists are intentionally short, allowing each reader to add to them. Susan Wise Bauer said it better than I can, so I will include some of her words from page 53: “List making is a dangerous occupation. No list of “Great Books” is canonical, and all lists are biased: they reflect the interests of the person who drew them up. These particular lists are not meant in any way to be comprehensive. They do not even include all of the “greatest” works in each field. Rather, they are designed to introduce readers to the study of a particular area of thought . . . You should feel free to add to the lists or subtract from them. They are intentionally short; expand them. They may not include your favorite author; pencil him or her in. They may include works you think are trivial or offensive; cross those off.”

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  4. Question

    Hollie

    What are the differences between this newer edition and the first edition (2003)?

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    • Answer Desk

      The newer edition includes essential readings in science, and other sections are expanded to include standout works from the twenty-first century and more poets after the Modernists.

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