The Making Of The Western Mind (1923) by Stawell, F. M. & Marvin, F. S. [Civilization Studies/History]

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Post by LectorRecitator » January 4th, 2019, 4:59 pm


∙ Title: The Making Of The Western Mind. A Short Survey Of European Culture
∙ Author: Stawell, Florence Melian (1869–1936) & Marvin, Francis Sydney (1863–1943)
∙ Publisher: Methuen & Company, L.T.D.
∙ Date/Edition/Impression: © 1923


A study examining the development of European civilization, from Ancient to Modern Times. The study is divided into 4 parts each examining the simultaneous development and interaction of Arts, Religious Doctrines and Sciences in Ancient Times, Mediaeval Times, Renaissance & Modern Times.

"WE are living in an aftermath of war and revolution. The menacing features it would be foolish to deny, but it would be equally foolish, and more paralysing, to overlook the hopeful signs. Among these is surely the prevalent desire to study history on broader lines and with a spirit that shall be international as well as patriotic. The work for this book has been undertaken in the hope of serving that end by learning to understand better the main forces that have gone to build up European culture and the main contributions of Europe's different nationalities to the common stock in literature, science, politics, philosophy, religion, and art.

The effort brings home to the student, and very forcibly, the underlying unity that subsists between the nations of the West. Between all nations doubtless some unity is latent, but Europe and her children hold in common a peculiar and opulent inheritance, developed, even in the midst of incessant strife, by a common partnership. Nation has learnt from nation, and in the end all the great developments of European culture have been international.

To recognize this is not, however, to obliterate the national boundaries. On the contrary, as we study the complicated story of European civilization we can see how in the shelter of each nation distinctive types of excellence have been fostered, and we come to feel that, even as each period in time seems to have its allotted task (a task that, once achieved, is never exactly repeated), so each nation that is a natural unity has been able to give, sooner or later, something to the world that no other could have done. In this light the desire to suppress any one people appears more than ever as a sin against mankind. What would the inheritance of Europe have been if Persia had crushed the Greeks ? What would it be without mediaeval Italy, and with no Dante ? or without Spain of the Renaissance, and with no Cervantes, no Velazquez ? Without Holland, and with no Rembrandt, no Declaration of Dutch Independence ? Without Germany, and with no Bach, no Beethoven, no Goethe, no Kant ?

The richness and complexity of history is too great to be summed up under any one formula, but, if history is intelligible at all, certain conclusions can and should be drawn. And a survey, impartial at least in desire, indicates that there are two chief factors making for all noble achievement in culture, one the love of liberty, the other the search for unity, and both of them are needed alike in thought and in practice. Neither liberty nor unity can, it is true, of themselves produce the vital element of genius. But without them genius withers. Either alone, it is true again, is incomplete without the other, while to combine both in a perfect harmony is an achievement, maybe, beyond the power of man. Yet it is an achievement at which he must aim or perish. These considerations will meet us again and again in our course, and the moral, that Europe must now set herself to gain at once greater liberty and greater unity, stares us in the face at the close.

Since the object of this attempt is to trace the chief threads in Europe's web of culture, it has been necessary to pass lightly over events military and political, and seek only to embody as succinctly as possible the main results accepted by most historians and essential for any understanding of
European development in the matters of the mind."

(From Introductory)

Readability Information

336 Pages divided into 43 chapters of small and moderate length, plus 1 page of a quote in the beginning and 1 page of Preface.
No illustrations in text. A Chronological Table of 11 pages is also included at the end.
Total: 338 Pages (Chronological Table excluded)

Lector Recitator’s Readability Rating

Not in regards to Subject Matter or Overall Length, but Structure
(i.e., Division of written material into Chapters/Sections & Subchapters/Subsections and their individual length)

∙ 1/5: Laborious
∙ 2/5: Challenging
∙ 3/5: Readable
4/5: Quite Readable ←
∙ 5/5: Exceedingly Readable

«ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ»/"the unexamined life is not worth living"

(Plato, Apology: 38a. Translated by H. N. Fowler)

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