For many years Columbia College has sought suitable background readings to be used with the documents in its source books, Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West. Only recently has it been possible to commission a group of leading scholars in America and Europe to write these special essays for use in our Contemporary Civilization course.
These essays make this edition of Chapters in Western Civilization almost entirely a new work, for only one chapter from earlier editions and small parts of two other chapters have been retained. Although Chapters in Western Civilization is used at Columbia as a supplement to source documents, it is self-sufficient and can also be used as a basic text in European history and Western Civilization courses.
In acknowledging those who have helped make this volume possible, first recognition must be given to the two generations of scholars at Columbia who have worked enthusiastically and successfully in the Contemporary Civilization courses. The names of previous editorial committees are particularly important, and they are given below. The present editorial committee also wishes to acknowledge the gracious cooperation of the contributors to this new volume.
In addition we have had encouragement and helpful interest from John G. Palfrey, Dean of Columbia College. Daniel Bell, Peter Gay, David Hicks, Steven Marcus, Sidney Morgenbesser, and Robert Webb helped the editorial committee in determining the contents of the volume or in criticizing individual manuscripts.
Professor John H. Mundy wishes to thank the Columbia University Council for Research in the Social Sciences and the American Council of Learned Societies for their aid while writing his essay. Professor Paul O. Kristeller thanks Michael Held and Professors Edward Rosen, Josef Soudek, and Charles Trinkaus for their suggestions about his essay. We are indebted