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establish vantage points from which to view the events."39 Studied in isolation, events appear analyzable and discrete, but when culture is considered, the effect of the world in which people live becomes clear and, hopefully, events will seem less critical.

Burckhardt offered his course of study as a means of making "classical studies immediately accessible," as part of "a shared humanistic education." The study of Greek literature provided a foundation for the course since, "in the case of the Greeks the expression of the things of the mind has at least the merit of being more lucid than it is anywhere else."40 The Greek experience as conveyed through writing, provided, in Burckhardt's estimation, an ideal example of intellectual achievement. The precision of Greek thought served to demonstrate the humanistic spirit absent from nineteenth-century Europe.

The use of classical Greece as a model of civilized life did not originate with Burckhardt or in the nineteenth century. As he correctly asserted, "the civilization of Greece and Rome. . . since the fourteenth century obtained so powerful a hold . . . as the source and basis of culture, as the object and ideal of existence."41 Yet he objected to the contemporary use of classical literature, noting that, "the grammar schools' higher education prepares the child of the cultivated classes to be a Professor of Classical Studies." Burckhardt, proposed, in contrast, "to do everything possible to preserve a living feeling for ancient Greece." Instead of holding up a select few ancient authors, he claimed "that every classical author of repute is a source for the historian of culture." He further expressed interest in "material conveyed in an unintentional, disinterested, or even involuntary way."42 Burckhardt thus hoped to replace the traditional use of classical authors as a source of material for literary study with a study of classical authors for their personalities and individual modes of expression.

Burckhardt's novel use of classical authors coincided with his views on the entire process of studying them. He proposed to

Take the narrative authors first . . . they convey a knowledge of the Greeks and their perception of the external world as well as their inner habits of thought. As to poetry and philosophy . . . seen from the point of view of cultural history they are a celebration of an incomparably gifted people of the past, a bygone and yet still living spiritual manifestation of the highest order.43


39. Ibid.
40. Ibid., 8.
41. Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 175.
42. Burckhardt, The Greeks and Greek Civilization, 8.
43. Ibid., 9.


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