The Depths of the Heights: Reading Conrad with Americas Military

Geoffrey Galt Harpham

in The Humanities and the Dream of America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226316970
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226317014 | DOI:
The Depths of the Heights: Reading Conrad with Americas Military

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The humanities have been the subject of an immense quantity of elevated rhetoric. Distinguished people have described and defended the need for a national investment in teaching and research in literary studies, history, philosophy, and the arts. Hard training is required in order to achieve an understanding so deeply counterintuitive. As humanistic study imbues people with a moral imagination, the real burden of the humanities, as opposed to their manifold pleasures and benefits, does not fall on professors, students, or the culture-loving population in general. In a culture whose commitment to the freedom of the individual often seems to begin with the freedom from guilt, the military perspective on the humanities is well worth pondering. The humanities keep one honest and human, reminding of the capacity for committing unspeakable violence and of ability to outface brutality through the transformative power of art.

Keywords: humanities; military perspective; national investment; literary studies; individual

Chapter.  4528 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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