, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 375–379 | Cite as

Barry Bercier, The Skies of Babylon: Diversity, Nihilism, and the American University

Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2007. 165 pp. $15.00. ISBN-10: 1933859350; ISBN-13: 978-1933859354
  • Ivan KenneallyEmail author
Book Review

Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind (Simon and Schuster, 1987) was more than just an unlikely literary event—it was the grand inauguration of an intellectual genre. He intended what he referred to as his “idiosyncratic history of the university” to be microcosmic of the general history of Western civilization—if political philosophy is both the efficient and final cause of Western consciousness then central significance has to be assigned to the university as the steward of our philosophical and cultural fortunes. For Bloom, the dampening of our erotic longings, or the woeful flattening of our souls, can be diagnosed in the symptomatic decay of university life and the crisis of confidence in its general mission. Ever since the Closing’stowering success, it has not only defined the parameters of debate regarding the health of the university but has also served as a kind of literary template for a slew of imitators that followed in its wake. Now, contentious disputes...

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceRochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA

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