Publishing News

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

The "Great Books of the Western World" have been updated. But that venerable collection's second edition, released this fall, is drawing some criticism.

First published by the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1952, the 54-volume series commemorates books that reflect and enhance Western philosophy. Works must meet three criteria: enduring readability, relevance to contemporary life, and the incorporation and explication of a certain number of "great ideas."

Books considered for the second edition were evaluated by the series' editor-in-chief, Mortimer J. Adler, and a panel of authors and scholars. They approved the addition of works by 60 authors, 45 from the 20th century and 15 from previous centuries.

Critics have charged that the choices reflect only the contributions of white male writers. No works by blacks or Latin Americans are included, and only four female authors are represented.

At a Library of Congress panel discussion in October, Mr. Adler defended the choices, saying that neither the influence a book may have had nor the "truths" it states were related to its quality or philosophical depth.

Among the new authors and works included are Jane Austen's Emma, Moliere's The Miser, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, and Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche.

The popularity of "recovery" books--self-help tomes on everything from "codependency" to compulsive work habits--is spilling over into the children's book market, according to Publishers Weekly.

Youth-oriented presses such as Greenwillow Books and Deaconess Press have offered titles such as Growing Up Divorced and Life Is Just A Party: Portrait of a Teenage Partier. This spring, Health Communications will introduce a series on dysfunctional families, targeted to children ages 5 to 8.

Because few young people buy such books for themselves, publishers are appealing to schools and treatment centers, which now account for the majority of sales.

The Ziggurat Book Series, launched recently by Chicago Review Press, will offer gifted middle- and high-school-age students project books exploring such disciplines as photography, astronomy, the graphic arts, and craftsmaking.

The series' first book, The Art of Construction, focuses on engineering and design and will be released in April. Others are planned on filmmaking, geography, and interior decoration.

For information, contact Chicago Review Press, 814 North Franklin St., Chicago, Ill. 60610.--SKG

Web Only

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Vocabulary Development for Striving Readers

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >