Wednesday (with Words) :: Norms and Nobilities

Earlier this year I read  Norms and Nobilities.  I got the book from interlibrary loan.  I had the book for three weeks and then it went back to the university that I graduated from.  It charms me to think of the book sitting quietly on a shelf in the library where I spent so many hours.

In three weeks, I could really only just read through the book, note a few things that caught my eye.  Then it was time to return.  Still these fragments sing to me.  There’s a deep melody, the rhythm under the song.

[The novel] raises questions I cannot answer or ignore, the sort of questions that possess a wisdom apart from answers. (1)

The modern school…is uneasy about life’s monumental, problematic concerns–a method that puts these aside, distrusts them.  Its rules of analysis increasingly govern our understanding + appreciation of art, poetry, history, even religion.  It excludes the normative aspects of knowledge (what ought to be done) for the operational (what can be done).  (7)

…a person competent to judge what experts say without being an expert himself.  (18)

Education as paideia is not preparation for life, for college, or for work.  It is our inherited means of living fully in the present while we grow in wisdom + in grace…entering gradually into “the good life.”  (130)

Both Brandy and Mystie have written extensively on the book if you’d like to dip into more quotes before taking the plunge.

Wednesday with Words


    1. It’s a big investment! I’m glad I got to read through it once via ILL…even though I liked it and think it’s a good foundational text, I don’t think I’ll be purchasing my own copy. At least not right away.

  1. I only read the first few chapters, but those alone “de-Deweyfied” me. I really liked the descriptive/prescriptive description, and see that you picked up on the normative idea as well. Thanks!

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