Eric Havelock was a British classicist. He was a professor at the
University of Toronto and was active in the academic wing of the
Canadian socialist movement during the 1930s. In the 1960s and '70s,
he served as chair of the classics departments at both Harvard and
Yale. Although he was trained in the turn-of-the-century Oxbridge
tradition of classical studies, which saw Greek intellectual history
as an unbroken chain of related ideas, Havelock broke radically with
his own teachers and proposed an entirely new model for understanding
the classical world, based on a sharp division between literature of
the 6th and 5th centuries BC on the one hand, and the 4th on the
other. Much of Havelock's work was devoted to a single thesis: that
all of Western thought is informed by a profound shift in the kinds of
ideas available to the human mind at the point that Greek philosophy
converted from an oral to a literate form. The idea has been
controversial in classical studies, and has frequently been rejected
outright; however, outside his own field, Havelock has been
extraordinarily influential. He and Walter J. Ong essentially founded
the amorphous field that studies transitions from orality to literacy,
and Havelock has been one of the most frequently cited theorists in
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican candidate to win the U.S.
Edwin Armstrong presented his study on frequency modulation for FM
radio broadcasting to the Institute of Radio Engineers.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 1761,
condemning South Africa's apartheid policies.
Duong Van Minh officially took over the government of South Vietnam a
few days after the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem.
Demonstrators in Morocco began the Green March to Spanish Sahara,
calling for the "return of the Moroccan Sahara."
Wikiquote of the day:
Me, I shall be an autocrat: that is my trade; and The Good God will
forgive me: that is His. -- Catherine the Great