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Princeton University Press (February 2016)
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WISDOM'S WORKSHOP

The Rise of the Modern University

by Axtell, James

When universities began in the Middle Ages, Pope Gregory IX described them as "wisdom's special workshop." He could not have foreseen how far these institutions would travel and develop. Tracing the eight-hundred-year evolution of the elite research university from its roots in medieval Europe to its remarkable incarnation today, Wisdom's Workshop places this durable institution in sweeping historical perspective. In particular, James Axtell focuses on the ways that the best American universities took on Continental influences, developing into the finest expressions of the modern university and enviable models for kindred institutions worldwide. Despite hand-wringing reports to the contrary, the venerable university continues to renew itself, becoming ever more indispensable to society in the United States and beyond.

A rich exploration of the historical lineage of today's research universities, Wisdom's Workshop explains the reasons for their ascendancy in America and their continued international preeminence.

James Axtell is the Kenan Professor of Humanities Emeritus at the College of William and Mary.

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