JOHN HENRY NEWMAN QUESTIONS FOR E335 VICTORIAN LITERATURE
Assigned: John Henry Newman. From The Idea of a University (1035-42).
From The Idea of a University
1. What are the two kinds of knowledge, as Newman defines and elaborates upon them? What is the difference between the object of or goal toward which each kind of knowledge tends? When, according to Newman, does it become appropriate to say that knowledge is "Science or Philosophy"? (1121-22)
2. How does Newman deal with the argument that utilitarian education and the useful knowledge it promotes at least achieve their stated goals, while liberal education is much more difficult to deal with in those terms? Why, according to Newman, is liberal education ultimately more "useful" than narrower, more immediately practical training? (1123-26)
3. Do you think that scientific endeavor could meet Newman's criteria for a liberal education? What argument might a person make in favor of including it in a liberal curriculum? Suggestion: look up the word "science" in a dictionary containing etymologies and older meanings (the OED, for example); in what sense does Newman draw upon the word's etymology and more archaic range of meanings?
4. What does your university's catalog say about the goals of education here? Do you believe that the school promotes the achievement of those goals? Do you think most students see themselves as engaged in the educational project described in your school's catalog? What barriers to a truly "Newmanesque" education do you find at work in your own experience here? (General question)
5. Does Newman's argument depend upon the nineteenth century's tendency to split science and liberal arts or humanities into two completely separate camps? Does his argument reinforce that split, or does he try with some success to lessen it? Explain your reasoning on this point.
Edition: Greenblatt, Stephen et al, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. E. New York: Norton, 2006. ISBN Package 2 (Vols. DEF) 0-393-92834-9.