Abstract

Abstract:

This essay examines the relationship between the “golden age” of the American university (1945–70) and the movement for general education, which sought to establish a common undergraduate curriculum for the purpose of educating the “whole man.” The movement, I suggest, repurposed the question of the “dissociation of sensibility” faced by poets, critics, and literary scholars, arguing that a common undergraduate curriculum was necessary to produce citizen-professionals who were both technically skilled and capable citizens. This question animated the work of major literary intellectuals—including Lionel Trilling and Ralph Ellison—whose conceptions of the “renaissance man” extended and refined forms of intellectual and affective attachment to the college. Through the movement’s relationship with these literary figures, I argue that we might further understand the relationship between the postwar research university, industrial capitalism, and American power.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 53-74
Launched on MUSE
2021-03-31
Open Access
No
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