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Summary

Practically a classic itself, Invitation to the Classics is a popular guide to those great works of literature that you always meant to read. Full color and engaging, this book is a gateway to the fulfilling pursuit of understanding our culture by exploring its most enduring writings.

For over a decade, university teachers, politicians, literary critics and preachers have argued about the educational role of the literary classics of the Western world. While some have contended that the works themselves are full of immoral teachings and should be banned from libraries and school curricula, others have argued that the stereotypical portrayal of certain characters has a pernicious effect on readers and leads to classism, sexism and racism. Still others, like authors of this lively collection, believe that the classics are indispensable for an understanding of Western society and human nature. Guinness and Cowan gather over 50 brief essays by a number of respected Christian literary scholars that extend invitations to readers to experience anew or for the first time the wonder and the beauty of selected classics. Each essay contains a biographical and historical sketch, a summary of the work being considered, suggestions and bibliographies for further study and questions raised by the text about the interaction of Christian faith and society. The selections range from the Iliad to Machiavelli’s The Prince, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. Genres covered range from Shakespeare’s plays and Milton’s epic poetry to Martin Luther’s theological writings and Alexis de Tocqueville’s travel writings. 

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