An essay written by John von Heyking, entitled “Top 5 Books on Liberal Education Published in the Last 35 years” is a good read and moves one to think about the texts that he names.
But are there any others? I have read and am familiar with 4 of the 5 named books: I am looking forward to reading is Everyone a Teacher by Mark Schwen.
There are two authors that I would like to recommend as an addition to the five listed by von Heyking: Marion Montgomery and Stratford Caldecott. Marion Montgomery can be considered the last of the 20th century Southern Agrarian movement who has written fiction, poetry, philosophical tracts, as well as literary and cultural criticism. He has been known as a Hillbilly Thomist in Southern literary circles and his most recent published work is entitled Hillbilly Thomist. The work that I recommend of Montgomery’s is The Truth of Things: Liberal Arts and the Recovery of Reality. Professor Montgomery traces the turmoil and chaos of today’s education beyond where Allan Bloom proposed, that of Rousseau, the Enlightenment thinkers and Nietzsche, but goes further back to the fourteenth century. If we have any hope of properly renewing education, we should seek the proper roots of the fall and Montgomery is a good guide for this examination.
The second scholar is Stratford Caldecott and his latest book, Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education. I cannot recommend this book enough. After reading it, I passed a couple of copies to friends who teach at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, and before long one was reworking geometry and others led a couple of faculty symposiums over the text. In short, Caldecott reunites the purpose of education with the process of education and how it can be fulfilled in the liberal arts. I think both of these texts are worthy of adding.
Those who are familiar with the resurgence of the liberal arts since the late 20th century know there is more than one “little republic”, as von Heyking calls St. John’s College. I would heartily add the University of Dallas and Hillsdale College as additional republics that are prospering across America.
If you are interested in any of the books mentioned above or are interested in related books, they can be found at the The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.