The Artes Liberales as the Basis of the Humanities

By Bernard F Dick.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The liberal arts today bear little resemblance to what they originally were. The roman model, which made its way into the Middle Ages, did not regard grammar as simply the parts of speech; reading and writing were supplmeneted by the interpretation of texts, chiefly poetry; making grammar more than the parts of speech and their incorporation into sentences. Humanism, which could not have come into existence without the liberal arts, transformed them into 'litterae humaniores,' often translated as humane letters, except that 'humaniores' is the comparative, suggesting texts that make one 'more human.' But a text cannot accomplish this purpose if it cannot be interpreted. For the humanities to regain their pride of place, the written word must be treated with more respect than it currently receives.

Keywords: Artes Liberales, Trivium, Humanism, Litterae Humaniores

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 8, pp.111-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 496.121KB).

Dr. Bernard F Dick

Professor of Communication and English, School of Art and Media Studies, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA

I have written critical studies of William Golding, Gore Vidal, and Mary Renault before turning to film criticism, where my works include The Star-Spangled Screen: The American World II Film, Anatomy of Film (5th ed.), biographies of Harry Cohn and Hal Wallis, histories of Columbia, Universal, and Paramount studios, and recently the first biography of actress Rosalind Russell, Forever Mame.

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