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The Story of Civilization

The Story of Civilization
Author Will Durant
Ariel Durant
Country United States
Language English
Subject History
Published 1935–1975 (Simon and Schuster)
ISBN

The Story of Civilization, by husband and wife Will and Ariel Durant, is an eleven-volume set of books covering Western history for the general reader. The volumes sold well for many years, and sets of them were frequently offered by book clubs. An unabridged audiobook production of all eleven-volumes was produced by Books On Tape Inc. and was read by Alexander Adams (aka Grover Gardner).

The series was written over a span of more than four decades. It totals four million words across nearly 10,000 pages, but is incomplete. In the first volume (Our Oriental Heritage, which covers the history of the East through 1933), Will Durant stated that he wanted to include the history of the West through the early 20th century. However, the series ends with The Age of Napoleon because the Durants both died in the 1980s – she in her 80s and he in his 90s – before they could complete additional volumes.

The first six volumes of The Story of Civilization are credited to Will Durant alone, with Ariel recognized only in the Acknowledgements. Beginning with The Age of Reason Begins, Ariel is credited as a co-author.

In the preface to the first volume, Durant states his intention to make the series in 5 volumes, although this would not turn out to be the case.

Contents

  • Series outline 1
    • I. Our Oriental Heritage (1935) 1.1
    • II. The Life of Greece (1939) 1.2
    • III. Caesar and Christ (1944) 1.3
    • IV. The Age of Faith (1950) 1.4
    • V. The Renaissance (1953) 1.5
    • VI. The Reformation (1957) 1.6
    • VII. The Age of Reason Begins (1961) 1.7
    • VIII. The Age of Louis XIV (1963) 1.8
    • IX. The Age of Voltaire (1965) 1.9
    • X. Rousseau and Revolution (1967) 1.10
    • XI. The Age of Napoleon (1975) 1.11
  • Objective 2
  • Development History 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Series outline

I. Our Oriental Heritage (1935)

Khafre's Pyramid (4th dynasty) and Great Sphinx of Giza (c.2500 BC or perhaps earlier)

This volume covers Near Eastern history until the fall of the Persian Empire in the 330s BC, and the history of India, China, and Japan up to the 1930s.

“Every chapter, every paragraph in this book will offend or amuse some patriotic or esoteric soul: the Hindu will mourn this superficial scratching of Indian philosophy; The Chinese or Japanese sage will smile indulgently at these brief and inadequate selections from the wealth of Far Eastern literature and thought. ... Meanwhile a weary author may sympathize with Tai T’ung, who in the thirteenth century issued his ‘’History of Chinese Writing’‘ with these words: ‘Were I to await perfection, my book would never be finished.’” (p.ix)
  1. The Establishment of Civilization
  2. The Conditions of Civilization
  3. The Economic Elements of Civilization
  4. The Political Elements of Civilization
  5. The Moral Elements of Civilization
  6. The Mental Elements of Civilization
  7. The Prehistoric Beginnings of Civilization
    “The moulders of the world’s myths were unsuccessful husbands, for they agreed that woman was the source of all evil.” (page 70)
  8. The Near East
  9. Sumeria
  10. Egypt
  11. Babylonia
  12. Assyria
  13. A Motley of Nations
  14. Judea
  15. Persia
    “For barbarism is always around civilization, amid it and beneath it, ready to engulf it by arms, or mass migration, or unchecked fertility. Barbarism is like the jungle; it never admits its defeat; it waits patiently for centuries to recover the territory it has lost.” (page 265)
  16. India and Her Neighbors
  17. The Foundations of India
  18. Buddha
  19. From Alexander to Aurangzeb
  20. The Life of the People
  21. The Paradise of the Gods
  22. The Life of the Mind
  23. The Literature of India
  24. Indian Art
  25. A Christian Epilogue
    On the fall of India to the Moguls: “The bitter lesson that may be drawn from this tragedy is that eternal vigilance is the price of civilization. A nation must love peace, but keep its powder dry.” (page 463)
  26. The Far East
  27. The Age of the Philosophers
  28. The Age of the Poets
  29. The Age of the Artists
  30. The People and the State
  31. Revolution and Renewal
    On China in 1935: “No victory of arms, or tyranny of alien finance, can long suppress a nation so rich in resources and vitality. The invader will lose funds or patience before the loins of China will lose virility; within a century China will have absorbed and civilized her conquerors, and will have learned all the technique of what transiently bears the name of modern industry; roads and communications will give her unity, economy and thrift will give her funds, and a strong government will give her order and peace.” (page 823)
  32. Japan
  33. The Makers of Japan
  34. The Political and Moral Foundations
  35. The Mind and Art of Old Japan
  36. The New Japan
    On Japan in 1935: "By every historical precedent the next act will be war."
  37. II. The Life of Greece (1939)

    Bust of Pericles after Cresilas, Altes Museum, Berlin

    This volume covers Ancient Greece and the Hellenistic Near East down to the Roman conquest.

    1. Aegean Prelude: 3500–1000 BC
    2. Crete
    3. Before Agamemnon
    4. The Heroic Age
    5. The Rise of Greece: 1000–480 BC
    6. Sparta
    7. Athens
    8. The Great Migration
    9. The Greeks in the West
    10. The Gods of Greece
    11. The Common Culture of Early Greece
    12. The Struggle for Freedom
      "The realization of self-government was something new in the world; life without kings had not yet been dared by any great society. Out of this proud sense of independence, individual and collective, came a powerful stimulus to every enterprise of the Greeks; it was their liberty that inspired them to incredible accomplishments in arts and letters, in science and philosophy." (p. 233)
    13. The Golden Age: 480–399 BC
    14. Pericles and the Democratic Experiment
    15. Work and Wealth in Athens
    16. The Morals and Manners of the Athenians
    17. The Art of Periclean Greece
    18. The Advancement of Learning
    19. The Conflict of Philosophy and Religion
    20. The Literature of the Golden Age
    21. The Suicide of Greece
      "As surprising as anything else in this civilization is the fact that it was brilliant without the aid or stimulus of women." (p. 305)
    22. The Decline and Fall of Greek Freedom: 399–322 BC
    23. Philip
    24. Letters and Arts in the Fourth Century
    25. The Zenith of Philosophy
    26. Alexander
      "The class war had turned democracy into a contest in legislative looting." (p. 554)
    27. The Hellenistic Dispersion: 322–146 BC
    28. Greece and Macedonia
    29. Hellenism and the Orient
    30. Egypt and the West
    31. Books
    32. The Art of the Dispersion
    33. The Climax of Greek Science
    34. The Surrender of Philosophy
    35. The Coming of Rome
      ”We have tried to show that the essential cause of the Roman conquest of Greece was the disintegration of Greek civilization from within. No great nation is ever conquered until it has destroyed itself.” (p. 659)
    36. Epilogue: Our Greek Heritage

      III. Caesar and Christ (1944)

      Bust of Julius Caesar

      The volume covers the history of Rome and of Christianity until the time of Constantine the Great.

      1. Introduction: Origins
      2. Etruscan Prelude: 800–508 BC
      3. The Republic: 508–30 BC
      4. The Struggle for Democracy: 508–264 BC
      5. Hannibal Against Rome: 264 BC-202 BC
      6. Stoic Rome: 508–202 BC
      7. The Greek Conquest: 201 BC-146 BC
        ”The new generation, having inherited world mastery, had no time or inclination to defend it; that readiness for war which had characterized the Roman landowner disappeared now that ownership was concentrated in a few families and a proletariat without stake in the country filled the slums of Rome.” (p. 90)
      8. The Revolution: 145–30 BC
      9. The Agrarian Revolt: 145–78 BC
      10. The Oligarchic Reaction: 77–60 BC
      11. Literature Under the Revolution: 145–30 BC
      12. Caesar: 100–44 BC
      13. Antony: 44–30 BC
        ”Children were now luxuries which only the poor could afford.” (p. 134)
      14. The Principate: 30 BC-AD 192
      15. Augustan Statesmanship: 30 BC-AD 14
      16. The Golden Age: 30 BC-AD 18
      17. The Other Side of Monarchy: AD 14–96
      18. The Silver Age: AD 14–96
      19. Rome at Work: AD 14–96
      20. Rome and Its Art: 30 BC-AD 96
      21. Epicurean Rome: 30 BC-AD 96
      22. Roman Law: 146 BC-AD 192
      23. The Philosopher Kings: AD 96–180
      24. Life and Thought in the Second Century: AD 96–192
        ”If Rome had not engulfed so many men of alien blood in so brief a time, if she had passed all these newcomers through her schools instead of her slums, if she had treated them as men with a hundred potential excellences, if she had occasionally closed her gates to let assimilation catch up with infiltration, she might have gained new racial and literary vitality from the infusion, and might have remained a Roman Rome, the voice and citadel of the West.” (p. 366)
      25. The Empire: AD 146-AD 192
      26. Italy
      27. Civilizing the West
      28. Roman Greece
      29. The Hellenistic Revival
      30. Rome and Judea: 132 BC-AD 135
      31. The Youth of Christianity: 4 BC-AD 325
      32. Jesus: 4 BC-AD 30
      33. The Apostles: AD 30–95
      34. The Growth of the Church: AD 96–305
      35. The Collapse of the Empire: AD 193–305
      36. The Triumph of Christianity: AD 306–325
      37. Epilogue
        ”Rome was not destroyed by Christianity, any more than by barbarian invasion; it was an empty shell when Christianity rose to influence and invasion came.” (p.667-668)

        IV. The Age of Faith (1950)

        The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, a city considered holy by Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

        This volume covers the Middle Ages in both Europe and the Near East, from the time of Constantine I to that of Dante Alighieri.

        1. The Byzantine Zenith: AD 325–565
        2. Julian the Apostate: 332-63
        3. The Triumph of the Barbarians: 325–476
        4. The Progress of Christianity: 364–451
        5. Europe Takes Form: 325–529
        6. Justinian: 527-65
        7. Byzantine Civilization: 337–565
        8. The Persians: 224–641
          "Historically, the conquest destroyed the outward form of what had already inwardly decayed; it cleared away with regrettable brutality and thoroughness a system of life which, with all its gifts of order, culture, and law, had worn itself into senile debility, and had lost the powers of regeneration and growth." (p. 43)
        9. Islamic Civilization: AD 569–1258
        10. Mohammed: 569–632
        11. The Koran
        12. The Sword of Islam: 632–1058
        13. The Islamic Scene: 632–1058
        14. Thought and Art in Eastern Islam: 632–1058
        15. Western Islam: 641–1086
        16. The Grandeur and Decline of Islam: 1058–1258
          “Moslems seem to have been better gentlemen than their Christian peers; they kept their word more frequently, showed more mercy to the defeated, and were seldom guilty of the brutality as marked the Christian capture of Jerusalem in 1099.” (p. 341)
        17. Judaic Civilization: AD 135-1300
        18. The Talmud: 135–500
        19. The Medieval Jews: 500–1300
        20. The Mind and Heart of the Jew: 500–1300
        21. The Dark Ages: AD 566–1095
        22. The Byzantine World: 566–1095
        23. The Decline of the West: 566–1066
        24. The Rise of the North: 566–1066
        25. Christianity in Conflict: 529–1085
        26. Feudalism and Chivalry: 600–1200
        27. The Climax of Christianity: 1095–1300
        28. The Crusades: 1095–1291
        29. The Economic Revolution: 1066–1300
        30. The Recovery of Europe: 1095–1300
        31. Pre-Renaissance Italy: 1057–1308
        32. The Roman Catholic Church: 1095–1294
        33. The Early Inquisition: 1000–1300
        34. Monks and Friars: 1095–1300
        35. The Morals and Manners of Christendom: 700–1300
        36. The Resurrection of the Arts: 1095–1300
        37. The Gothic Flowering: 1095–1300
        38. Medieval Music: 326–1300
        39. The Transmission of Knowledge: 1000–1300
        40. Abélard: 1079–1142
        41. The Adventure of Reason: 1120–1308
        42. Christian Science: 1095–1300
        43. The Age of Romance: 1100–1300
        44. Dante: 1265–1321
          "All in all, the picture we form of the medieval Latin Church is that of a complex organization doing its best, despite the human frailties of its adherents and leaders, to establish moral and social order, and to spread an uplifting and consoling faith, amid the wreckage of an old civilization and the passions of an adolescent society." (p. 818)
        45. Epilogue: The Medieval Legacy

          V. The Renaissance (1953)

          Venus of Urbino by Titian, one of the Italian Renaissance's most distinguished artists

          This volume covers the history of Italy from c.1300 to the mid 16th century, focusing on the Italian Renaissance.

          1. Prelude: 1300–77
          2. The Age of Petrarch and Boccaccio: 1304–75
          3. The Popes in Avignon: 1309–77
            "Venetian merchants invaded every market from Jerusalem to Antwerp; they traded impartially with Christians and Mohammedans, and papal excommunications fell upon them with all the force of dew upon the earth." (p. 39)
          4. The Florentine Renaissance: 1378–1534
          5. The Rise of the Medici: 1378–1464
          6. The Golden Age: 1464–92
          7. Savonarola and the Republic: 1492–1534
            “But it took more than a revival of antiquity to make the Renaissance. And first of all it took money—smelly bourgeois money: ... of careful calculations, investments and loans, of interest and dividends accumulated until surplus could be spared from the pleasures of the flesh, from the purchase of senates, signories, and mistresses, to pay a Michelangelo or a Titian to transmute wealth into beauty, and perfume a fortune with the breath of art. Money is the root of all civilization.” (p. 67-68)
          8. Italian Pageant: 1378–1534
          9. Milan
          10. Leonardo da Vinci
          11. Tuscany and Umbria
          12. Mantua
          13. Ferrara
          14. Venice and Her Realm
          15. Emilia and the Marches
          16. The Kingdom of Naples
            "He was not handsome; like most great men, he was spared this distracting handicap." (p. 185)
          17. The Roman Renaissance: 1378–1521
          18. The Crisis in the Church: 1378–1521
          19. The Renaissance Captures Rome: 1447–92
          20. The Borgias
          21. Julius II: 1503–13
          22. Leo X: 1513–21
          23. Debacle
          24. The Intellectual Revolt
          25. The Moral Release
          26. The Political Collapse: 1494–1534
          27. Finale: 1534–76
          28. Sunset in Venice
          29. The Waning of The Renaissance
          30. Envoi
          31. VI. The Reformation (1957)

            Martin Luther at age 46

            This volume covers the history of Europe outside of Italy from around 1300 to 1564, focusing on the Protestant Reformation.

            1. From John Wyclif to Martin Luther: 1300–1517
            2. The Roman Catholic Church: 1300–1517
            3. England, Wyclif, Chaucer, and the Great Revolt: 1308–1400
            4. France Besieged: 1300–1461
            5. Gallia Phoenix: 1453–1515
            6. England in the Fifteenth Century: 1399–1509
            7. Episode in Burgundy: 1363–1515
            8. Middle Europe: 1300–1460
            9. The Western Slavs: 1300–1516
            10. The Ottoman Tide: 1300–1516
            11. Portugal Inaugurates the Commercial Revolution: 1300–1517
            12. Spain: 1300–1517
            13. The Growth of Knowledge: 1300–1517
            14. The Conquest of the Sea: 1492–1517
            15. Erasmus the Forerunner: 1469–1517
            16. Germany on the Eve of Luther: 1453–1517
            17. The Religious Revolution: 1517–64
            18. Luther: The Reformation in Germany: 1517–24
            19. The Social Revolution: 1522–36
            20. Zwingli: The Reformation in Switzerland: 1477–1531
            21. Luther and Erasmus: 1517–36
            22. The Faiths at War: 1525–60
            23. John Calvin: 1509–64
            24. Francis I and the Reformation in France: 1515–59
            25. Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey: 1509–29
            26. Henry VIII and Thomas More: 1529–35
            27. Henry VIII and the Monasteries: 1535–47
            28. Edward VI and Mary Tudor: 1547–58
            29. From Robert Bruce to John Knox: 1300–1561
            30. The Migrations of Reform: 1517–60
            31. The Strangers in the Gate: 1300–1566
            32. The Unification of Russia: 1300–1584
            33. The Genius of Islam: 1258–1520
            34. Suleiman the Magnificent: 1520–66
            35. The Jews: 1300–1564
            36. Behind the Scenes: 1517–1564
            37. The Life of the People
            38. Music: 1300–1564
            39. Literature in the Age of Rabelais
            40. Art in the Age of Holbein
            41. Science in the Age of Copernicus
              ”People then, as now, were judged more by their manners than by their morals; the world forgave more readily the sins that were committed with the least vulgarity and the greatest grace. Here, as in everything but artillery and theology, Italy led the way.” (p. 766)
            42. The Counter Reformation: 1517–65
            43. The Church and Reform
            44. The Popes and the Council
            45. Epilogue: Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment

              VII. The Age of Reason Begins (1961)

              This volume covers the history of Europe and the Near East from 1559 to 1648.

              1. The English Ecstasy: 1558–1648
              2. The Great Queen: 1558–1603
              3. Merrie England: 1558–1625
              4. On the Slopes of Parnassus: 1558–1603
              5. William Shakespeare: 1564–1616
              6. Mary, Queen of Scots: 1542–87
              7. James VI and I: 1567–1625
              8. The Summons to Reason: 1558–1649
              9. The Great Rebellion: 1625–49
                “Witches were burned, and Jesuits were taken down from the scaffold to be cut to pieces alive. The milk of human kindness flowed sluggishly in the days of Good Queen Bess.” (p. 54)
              10. The Faiths Fight For Power: 1556–1648
              11. Alma Mater Italia: 1564–1648
              12. Grandeur and Decadence of Spain: 1556–1665
              13. The Golden Age of Spanish Literature: 1556–1665
              14. The Golden Age of Spanish Art: 1556–1682
              15. The Duel for France: 1559–74
              16. Henry IV: 1553–1610
              17. Richelieu: 1585–1642
              18. France Beneath the Wars: 1559–1643
              19. The Revolt of the Netherlands: 1558–1648
              20. From Rubens to Rembrandt: 1555–1660
              21. The Rise of the North: 1559–1648
              22. The Islamic Challenge: 1566–1648
              23. Imperial Armageddon: 1564–1648
                "The stones in his bladder bothered him more than the wars of France."(p. 411)
              24. The Tentatives of Reason: 1558–1648
              25. Science in the Age of Galileo: 1558–1648
              26. Philosophy Reborn: 1564–1648
                "Is Christianity dying? ... If this is so, it is the basic event of modern times, for the soul of a civilization is its religion, and it dies with its faith." (p. 613)
              27. VIII. The Age of Louis XIV (1963)

                Louis XIV King of France, by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701

                This volume covers the period of Louis XIV of France in Europe and the Near East.

                1. The French Zenith: 1643–1715
                2. The Sun Rises: 1643–84
                3. The Crucible of Faith: 1643–1715
                4. The King and the Arts: 1643–1715
                5. Molière: 1622–73
                6. The Classic Zenith in French Literature: 1643–1715
                7. Tragedy in the Netherlands: 1649–1715
                  “It was an age of strict manners and loose morals.” (p. 27)
                  ”Like the others, he came from the middle class; the aristocracy is too interested in the art of life to spare time for the life of art.” (p. 144)
                  1. England: 1649–1714
                  2. Cromwell: 1649–60
                  3. Milton: 1608–74
                  4. The Restoration: 1660–85
                  5. The Glorious Revolution: 1685–1714
                  6. From Dryden to Swift: 1660–1714
                  7. The Periphery: 1648–1715
                  8. The Struggle for the Baltic: 1648–1721
                  9. Peter the Great: 1698–1725
                  10. The Changing Empire: 1648–1715
                  11. The Fallow South: 1648–1715
                  12. The Jewish Enclaves: 1564–1715
                  13. The Intellectual Adventure: 1648–1715
                  14. From Superstition to Scholarship: 1648–1715
                  15. The Scientific Quest: 1648–1715
                  16. Isaac Newton: 1642–1727
                  17. English Philosophy: 1648–1715
                  18. Faith and Reason in France: 1648–1715
                  19. Spinoza: 1632–77
                  20. Leibniz: 1646–1716
                  21. France Against Europe: 1683–1715
                  22. The Sun Sets
                  23. IX. The Age of Voltaire (1965)

                    This volume covers the period of the Age of Enlightenment, as exemplified by Voltaire, focusing on the period between 1715 and 1756 in France, Britain, and Germany.

                    1. France: The Regency
                    2. England: 1714–56
                    3. The People
                    4. The Rulers
                    5. Religion and Philosophy
                    6. Literature and the Stage
                    7. Art and Music
                    8. France: 1723–56
                    9. The People and the State
                    10. Morals and Manners
                    11. The Worship of Beauty
                    12. The Play of the Mind
                    13. Voltaire in France
                      ”Women, when on display, dressed as in our wondering youth, when the female structure was a breathless mystery costly to behold.” (p. 75)
                    14. Middle Europe: 1713–56
                    15. The Germany of Bach
                    16. Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa
                    17. Switzerland and Voltaire
                    18. The Advancement of Learning: 1715–89
                    19. The Scholars
                    20. The Scientific Advance
                    21. Medicine
                    22. The Attack Upon Christianity: 1730–74
                    23. The Atheists
                    24. Diderot and the Encyclopedie
                    25. Diderot Proteus
                    26. The Spreading Campaign
                    27. Voltaire and Christianity
                    28. The Triumph of the Philosophes
                    29. X. Rousseau and Revolution (1967)

                      This volume centers on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his times. It received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1968.[1]

                      1. Prelude
                      2. Rousseau Wanderer: 1712–56
                      3. The Seven Years' War: 1756–63
                      4. France Before the Deluge: 1757–74
                      5. The Life of the State
                      6. The Art of Life
                      7. Voltaire Patriarch: 1758–78
                      8. Rousseau Romantic: 1756–62
                      9. Rousseau Philosopher
                      10. Rousseau Outcast: 1762–67
                      11. The Catholic South: 1715–89
                      12. Italia Felix: 1715–59
                      13. Portugal and Pombal: 1706–82
                      14. Spain and the Enlightenment: 1700–88
                      15. Vale, Italia: 1760–89
                      16. The Enlightenment in Austria: 1756–90
                      17. Music Reformed
                      18. Mozart
                        “Lovers under a window plucked at a guitar or mandolin and a maiden’s heart.” (p. 220)
                      19. Islam and the Slavic East: 1715–96
                      20. Islam: 1715–96
                      21. Russian Interlude: 1725–62
                      22. Catherine the Great: 1762–96
                      23. The Rape of Poland: 1715–95
                      24. The Protestant North: 1756–89
                      25. Frederick's Germany: 1756–86
                      26. Kant: 1724–1804
                      27. Roads to Weimar: 1733–87
                      28. Weimar in Flower: 1775–1805
                      29. Goethe Nestor: 1805–32
                      30. The Jews: 1715–89
                      31. From Geneva to Stockholm
                        “He concluded that history is an excellent teacher with few pupils.” (p. 529)
                      32. Johnson's England: 1756–89
                      33. The Industrial Revolution
                      34. The Political Drama: 1756–92
                      35. The English People: 1756–89
                      36. The Age of Reynolds: 1756–90
                      37. England's Neighbors: 1756–89
                      38. The Literary Scene: 1756–89
                      39. Samuel Johnson: 1709–84
                      40. The Collapse of Feudal France: 1774–89
                      41. The Final Glory: 1774–83
                      42. Death and the Philosophers: 1774–1807
                      43. On the Eve: 1774–89
                      44. The Anatomy of Revolution: 1774–89
                      45. The Political Debacle: 1783–89
                      46. Envoi
                      47. XI. The Age of Napoleon (1975)

                        Napoleon in His Study by Jacques-Louis David (1812)

                        This volume centers on Napoleon I of France and his times.

                        1. The French Revolution: 1789–99
                        2. The Background of Revolution: 1774–89
                        3. The National Assembly: May 4, 1789 – September 30, 1791
                        4. The Legislative Assembly: October 1, 1791 – September 20, 1792
                        5. The Convention: September 21, 1792 – October 26, 1795
                        6. The Directory: November 2, 1795 – November 9, 1799
                        7. Life Under the Revolution: 1789–99
                        8. Napoleon Ascendant: 1799–1811
                        9. The Consulate: November 11, 1799 – May 18, 1804
                        10. The New Empire: 1804–07
                        11. The Mortal Realm: 1807–11
                        12. Napoleon Himself
                        13. Napoleonic France: 1800–1815
                        14. Napoleon and the Arts
                        15. Literature versus Napoleon
                        16. Science and Philosophy under Napoleon
                          "It was a typical Napoleonic campaign: swift, victorious, and futile." (p. 228)
                        17. Britain: 1789–1812
                        18. England at Work
                        19. English Life
                        20. The Arts in England
                        21. Science in England
                        22. English Philosophy
                        23. Literature in Transition
                        24. The Lake Poets: 1770–1850
                        25. The Rebel Poets: 1788–1824
                        26. England's Neighbors: 1789–1815
                        27. Pitt, Nelson, and Napoleon: 1789–1812
                        28. The Challenged Kings: 1789–1812
                        29. Iberia
                        30. Italy and Its Conquerors: 1789–1813
                        31. Austria: 1780–1812
                        32. Beethoven: 1770–1827
                        33. Germany and Napoleon: 1786–1811
                        34. The German People: 1789–1812
                        35. German Literature: 1789–1815
                        36. German Philosophy: 1789–1815
                        37. Around the Heartland: 1789–1812
                        38. Russia: 1796–1812
                          " ... she entered upon a series of adventures, in one of which she was surprised with motherhood." (p. 633)
                        39. Finale: 1811–1815
                        40. To Moscow: 1811–12
                        41. To Elba: 1813–14
                        42. To Waterloo: 1814–15
                        43. To St. Helena
                        44. To the End
                        45. Afterward: 1815–40
                        46. Objective

                          Durant said his purpose in writing the series was not to create a definitive scholarly production but to make a large amount of information accessible and comprehensible to the educated public in the form of a comprehensive "composite history." Given the massive undertaking in creating 11 volumes over 50 years, errors and incompleteness were inevitable by Durant's own reckoning; but he claimed that no other historical survey matches, let alone exceeds, the breadth and depth of his project.

                          As Durant says in the preface to his first work, Our Oriental Heritage:

                          I wish to tell as much as I can, in as little space as I can, of the contributions that genius and labor have made to the cultural heritage of mankind – to chronicle and contemplate, in their causes, character and effects, the advances of invention, the varieties of economic organization, the experiments in government, the aspirations of religion, the mutations of morals and manners, the masterpieces of literature, the development of science, the wisdom of philosophy, and the achievements of art. I do not need to be told how absurd this enterprise is, nor how immodest is its very conception … Nevertheless I have dreamed that despite the many errors inevitable in this undertaking, it may be of some use to those upon whom the passion for philosophy has laid the compulsion to try to see things whole, to pursue perspective, unity and time, as well as to seek them through science in space. … Like philosophy, such a venture [as the creation of these 11 volumes] has no rational excuse, and is at best but a brave stupidity; but let us hope that, like philosophy, it will always lure some rash spirits into its fatal depths.
                          — Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, preface

                          Development History

                          Editors on the series included M. Lincoln ("Max") Schuster and Michael Korda.[2]

                          See also

                          References

                          1. ^ "Pulitzer Prize Winners: General Non-Fiction". pulitzer.org. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
                          2. ^ Korda, Michael (1999). Another life : a memoir of other people (1st ed.). New York: Random House.  

                          External links

                          • Works by or about Ariel Durant in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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