Editors’ note: When The Closing of the American Mind appeared in the spring of 1987, it was an immediate sensation—a source of jubilation and consternation in more or less equal measure. Allan Bloom’s book spawned a small cataract of books about the university, some extending Bloom’s criticisms, some taking issue with them. Unlike many polemical works, however, Closing nimbly transcended its moment. Love it or hate it—or love it and hate it—Bloom’s book was an unavoidable document: a reflection that anyone concerned with the fate of American culture could accept or reject, but could not in good conscience ignore. We were therefore delighted to collaborate with the Manhattan Institute’s Center for the American University—itself a recent legacy of Bloom’s pioneering work—in a conference examining The Closing of the American Mind at 20. The conference, which took place in New York on...


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