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The Education of Henry Adams   By: (1838-1918)

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The Education of Henry Adams

by Henry Adams

THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS

CONTENTS EDITOR'S PREFACE PREFACE I. QUINCY (1838 1848) II. BOSTON (1848 1854) III. WASHINGTON (1850 1854) IV. HARVARD COLLEGE (1854 1858) V. BERLIN (1858 1859) VI. ROME (1859 1860) VII. TREASON (1860 1861) VIII. DIPLOMACY (1861) IX. FOES OR FRIENDS (1862) X. POLITICAL MORALITY (1862) XI. THE BATTLE OF THE RAMS (1863) XII. ECCENTRICITY (1863) XIII. THE PERFECTION OF HUMAN SOCIETY (1864) XIV. DILETTANTISM (1865 1866) XV. DARWINISM (1867 1868) XVI. THE PRESS (1868) XVII. PRESIDENT GRANT (1869) XVIII. FREE FIGHT (1869 1870) XIX. CHAOS (1870) XX. FAILURE (1871) XXI. TWENTY YEARS AFTER (1892) XXII. CHICAGO (1893) XXIII. SILENCE (1894 1898) XXIV. INDIAN SUMMER (1898 1899) XXV. THE DYNAMO AND THE VIRGIN (1900) XXVI. TWILIGHT (1901) XXVII. TEUFELSDROCKH (1901) XXVIII. THE HEIGHT OF KNOWLEDGE (1902) XXIX. THE ABYSS OF IGNORANCE (1902) XXX. VIS INERTIAE (1903) XXXI. THE GRAMMAR OF SCIENCE (1903) XXXII. VIS NOVA (1903 1904) XXXIII. A DYNAMIC THEORY OF HISTORY (1904) XXXIV. A LAW OF ACCELERATION (1904) XXXV. NUNC AGE (1905)

EDITOR'S PREFACE

THIS volume, written in 1905 as a sequel to the same author's "Mont Saint Michel and Chartres," was privately printed, to the number of one hundred copies, in 1906, and sent to the persons interested, for their assent, correction, or suggestion. The idea of the two books was thus explained at the end of Chapter XXIX:

"Any schoolboy could see that man as a force must be measured by motion from a fixed point. Psychology helped here by suggesting a unit the point of history when man held the highest idea of himself as a unit in a unified universe. Eight or ten years of study had led Adams to think he might use the century 1150 1250, expressed in Amiens Cathedral and the Works of Thomas Aquinas, as the unit from which he might measure motion down to his own time, without assuming anything as true or untrue, except relation. The movement might be studied at once in philosophy and mechanics. Setting himself to the task, he began a volume which he mentally knew as 'Mont Saint Michel and Chartres: a Study of Thirteenth Century Unity.' From that point he proposed to fix a position for himself, which he could label: 'The Education of Henry Adams: a Study of Twentieth Century Multiplicity.' With the help of these two points of relation, he hoped to project his lines forward and backward indefinitely, subject to correction from any one who should know better."

The "Chartres" was finished and privately printed in 1904. The "Education" proved to be more difficult. The point on which the author failed to please himself, and could get no light from readers or friends, was the usual one of literary form. Probably he saw it in advance, for he used to say, half in jest, that his great ambition was to complete St. Augustine's "Confessions," but that St. Augustine, like a great artist, had worked from multiplicity to unity, while he, like a small one, had to reverse the method and work back from unity to multiplicity. The scheme became unmanageable as he approached his end.

Probably he was, in fact, trying only to work into it his favorite theory of history, which now fills the last three or four chapters of the "Education," and he could not satisfy himself with his workmanship. At all events, he was still pondering over the problem in 1910, when he tried to deal with it in another way which might be more intelligible to students. He printed a small volume called "A Letter to American Teachers," which he sent to his associates in the American Historical Association, hoping to provoke some response. Before he could satisfy himself even on this minor point, a severe illness in the spring of 1912 put an end to his literary activity forever.

The matter soon passed beyond his control. In 1913 the Institute of Architects published the "Mont Saint Michel and Chartres... Continue reading book >>




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