Friday, July 22, 2005

Flashes from the Past: "He dropped out of high school at age 14..."

He dropped out of high school at age 14 and began working as a copy boy at the New York Sun. Taking night classes, he became impressed by reading that John Stuart Mill (tutored by his dad) could read the dialogues of Plato in Greek at the age of 5. So at age 14, he bought a set of Plato and was hooked. John Cuddily would refer to him later as the "the only Ph.D. in America with no B.A., no M.A., not even a high school diploma." An aside: he never got his college degree because "PE came at 10 o’clock, my logic class was at 9 and my French class at 11. It was too much of a bother to dress and undress and dress and undress. I only had time to get dressed once a day".

Who was this? This was of course Mortimer Adler, University of Chicago professor, founder of the Great Books of the Western World program, American educator, philosopher and author or editor of more than 50 books including the Encyclopedia Britannica and How to Read a Book.

Mortimer J. Adler
Mortimer Adler

1 comment:

  1. We have recently made an exciting discovery--three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos on the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    When we discovered them and how intrinsically edifying they are, we negotiated an agreement with Encyclopaedia Britannica to be the exclusive worldwide agent to make them available.

    For those of you who teach, this is great for the classroom.

    I cannot over exaggerate how instructive these programs are--we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more: