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A World of Ideas Essential Readings for College Writers



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Bedford/St. Martin's
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The first and bestselling reader of its kind, A World of Ideas introduces students to great thinkers whose ideas have shaped civilizations throughout history. When students hear names like Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Sigmund Freud, they recognize the author as important — and they rise to the challenge of engaging with the text and evaluating it critically. No other composition reader offers a comparable collection of essential readings along with the supportive apparatus students need to understand, analyze, and respond to them.

Author Biography

Lee A. Jacobus is professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut and the author/editor of popular English and drama textbooks, among them the full and compact versions of The Bedford Introduction to Drama, Sixth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009); and The Longman Anthology of American Drama. He has written scholarly books on Paradise Lost, on the works of John Cleveland, and on the works of Shakespeare, including Shakespeare and the Dialectic of Certainty. He is also a playwright and author of fiction. Two of his plays — Fair Warning and Long Division — were produced in New York by the American Theater of Actors, and Dance Therapy, three one-act plays, was produced in New York at Where Eagles Dare Theatre.  He has recently written a book of short stories, Volcanic Jesus, which is set in Hawaii.

Table of Contents

e-Pages (online only) are labeled in the contents below. Students receive automatic access to e-Pages with the purchase of a new book. If the code in a book or card is expired, they can purchase access here.

To the Student
EVALUATING IDEAS: An Introduction to Critical Reading
WRITING ABOUT IDEAS: An Introduction to Rhetoric

*VISUALIZING DEMOCRACY: Howard Chandler Christy, Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States [Image; color version in e-Pages]
*Aristotle, Democracy and Oligarchy
*Founding Fathers, The Constitution of the United States of America
*James Madison, Federalist No. 51: On the Separation of Departments of Power
*Alexis de Tocqueville, Government by Democracy in America
Carl Becker, Ideal Democracy
*Julius K. Nyerere, One-Party Government
*Benazir Bhutto, Islam and Democracy
e-Pages *Stephen L. Carter, The Separation of Church and State

VISUALIZING GOVERNMENT: Eugéne Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People [Image; color  version in e-Pages]
Lao-tzu, Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Qualities of the Prince
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Origin of Civil Society
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions
Hannah Arendt, Total Domination
e-Pages Marcus Tullius Cicero, The Defense of Injustice

VISUALIZING ETHICS AND MORALITY: Joseph Wright of Derby, An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump [Image; color version in e-Pages]
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
Frederick Douglass, from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Friedrich Nietzsche, Morality as Anti-Nature
Iris Murdoch, Morality and Religion
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
*Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Case Against Character
*Michael Gazzaniga, Toward a Universal Ethics
e-Pages Aristotle, The Aim of Man

VISUALIZING WEALTH AND POVERTY: Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Thankful Poor [Image; color version in e-Pages]
Adam Smith, Of the Natural Progress of Opulence
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth
John Kenneth Galbraith, The Position of Poverty
Robert B. Reich, Why the Rich Are Getting Richer and the Poor, Poorer
e-Pages *Milton and Rose Friedman, Created Equal

*VISUALIZING EDUCATION: Norman Rockwell, The Problem We All Live With [Image; color version in e-Pages]
*Hsün Tzu, Encouraging Learning
*John Dewey, Thinking in Education
*Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method
*Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
*Jonathan Kozol, The Uses of "Diversity"
*Howard Gardner, Designing Education for Understanding
e-Pages *Ralph Waldo Emerson, On Education

VISUALIZING GENDER AND CULTURE: Mary Cassatt, In the Loge [Image; color version in e-Pages]
Mary Wollstonecraft, Pernicious Effects Which Arise from the Unnatural Distinctions Established in Society
John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women
Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare's Sister
Margaret Mead, Sex and Temperament
Germaine Greer, Masculinity
*Judith Butler, from Undoing Gender
e-Pages *Karen Horney, The Distrust between the Sexes

*VISUALIZING LANGUAGE: Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Color of Words IX [Image; color version in e-Pages]
*Susanne Langer, Language
*Mario Pei, Theories of Language Beginning
*James Baldwin, If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is
*Bill Bryson, Where Words Come From
*Neil Postman, The Word Weavers / The World Makers
*Noam Chomsky, New Horizons in the Study of Language
e-Pages *Alexander Pope, from An Essay on Criticism

VISUALIZING DISCOVERIES AND THE MIND: Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory [Image; color version in e-Pages]
Plato, The Allegory of the Cave
Francis Bacon, The Four Idols
Charles Darwin, Natural Selection
Sigmund Freud, The Oedipus Complex
Carl Jung, The Personal and Collective Unconscious
e-Pages *René Descartes, Fourth Meditation: Of Truth and Error

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