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TVC Book Club: The Education of Henry Adams
TVC Book Club
"1885 photograph of Adams by William Notman"
“The Education of Henry Adams” is an autobiography that records the struggle of Bostonian Henry Adams (1838–1918), in his later years, to come to terms with the dawning 20th century, so different from the world of his youth. It is also a sharp critique of 19th-century educational theory and practice, and it ruminates on the necessity of self-education.
“The Education” is more a record of Adams's introspection and observations than his deeds. It is an extended meditation on the social, technological, political, and intellectual changes that occurred over Adams's lifetime and whether his traditional education prepared him well enough. It also provides a penetrating glimpse into the intellectual and political life of the late 19th century. The Modern Library placed it first in a list of the top 100 English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century.
Henry Adams' life story is rooted in the American political aristocracy that emerged from the American Revolution. He was the grandson of the American President John Quincy Adams and great-grandson of President and founding father John Adams. His father, Charles Francis Adams, had served as ambassador to the United Kingdom during the Civil War, and had been elected to the United States House of Representatives. His brothers Brooks Adams and Charles Francis Adams Jr. were also historians of note. In 1870, Adams was appointed professor of medieval history at Harvard, a position he held until his early retirement in 1877 at 39.
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Monday, December 11, 2023, 3:30 PM until 5:00 PM
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