Classics Transformed: Schools, Universities, and Society in England, 1830-1960

By Christopher Stray | Go to book overview

PREFACE

In 1947 W. H. Auden was invited to address the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity at Harvard, and chose to do so in verse. His address, published as Under Which Lyre? A Reactionary Tract for the Times, ends with a "Hermetic Decalogue" which includes the injunctions

Thou shalt not write thy doctor's thesis on education. Thou shalt not commit a social science.

I plead guilty on both counts, since this book originated as a doctoral thesis in sociology. The process of revision has been helped by comments made by five readers for the Press. My thanks in particular to Michael Brock for a detailed critique of evidence and interpretations, and to Frank Turner for his incisive (and decisive) remarks. I have also benefited from castigations of the original text by Ian Jackson and Paul Naiditch. The more remote origins of this book lie in a longstanding involvement with both classics and social science. From Sam Duchesne and Moses Finley I learned about learning. John Parker, who supervised the research on which this book is based, introduced me to the challenges and rewards of sociological thinking. From a host of librarians and archivists, the unsung heroes of so much academic work, I must at least sing of John Field (Westminster), James Lawson (Shrewsbury), and Elisabeth Leedham-Green ( Cambridge). In the USA Bob Ackerman, Ian Jackson, and Bob Kaster, long corresponded with and now happily encountered in the flesh, have sustained my sense that the work was worth doing.

Christopher Stray

Swansea March 1997

-vii-

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