Editor’s note: The following paper was given by Christopher Ricks at a symposium organized by the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University in April on the subject of “‘Moral Education’: The Humanities and the Question of Values in Education.” The members ofthe panel were invited to address the question: “What is at stake in the 'Battle of the Books?” Professor Ricks, who is now on the English faculty of Boston University, is the author of among much else, books on Milton, Keats, Tennyson, and Eliot. Among the other speakers at the Tale symposium were Martha Nussbaum, Hilton Kramer, James Atlas, Catherine Stimpson, Benjamin Barber, Norman Birnbaum, and Alasdair Maclntyre.

A quarter of an hour, on matters of such moment and such complexity, is not long enough to substantiate an argument but it should permit of relating some convictions. The most that such a...


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