The Story of Civilization - WikipediaHe became best known for his work The Story of Civilization , 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife, Ariel Durant , and published between and He was earlier noted for The Story of Philosophy , described as "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy". He conceived of philosophy as total perspective or seeing things sub specie totius a phrase inspired by Spinoza 's sub specie aeternitatis , which roughly means "from the perspective of the eternal". In , Durant was educated by the Jesuits in St. Historian Joan Rubin writes of that period, "Despite some adolescent flirtations, he began preparing for the vocation that promised to realize his mother's fondest hopes for him: the priesthood. In that way, one might argue, he embarked on a course that, while distant from Yale 's or Columbia 's apprenticeships in gentility, offered equivalent cultural authority within his own milieu. In , he began experimenting with socialist philosophy, but, after World War I , he began recognizing that a "lust for power" underlay all forms of political behavior.
Will Durant and Ariel Durant
Will Durant, a historian and philosopher who won a Pulitzer Prize with his wife, Ariel, for a volume of their ''Story of Civilization,'' died late yesterday. He was 96 years old. A spokesman for Cedars-Sinai Hospital here confirmed that Mr. Durant died of heart failure about 11 P. News of her death was kept from Mr. Durant, who had been under intensive care for three weeks after surgery.
The Story of Civilization , by husband and wife Will and Ariel Durant , is an volume set of books covering Western history for the general reader. The series was written over a span of more than four decades. It totals four million words across nearly 10, pages, with 2 further books in production at the time of the authors' deaths. However, the series ends with The Age of Napoleon because the Durants both died — she in her 80s and he in his 90s — before they could complete additional volumes. They also left behind notes for a 12th volume, The Age of Darwin , and an outline for a 13th, The Age of Einstein , which would have taken The Story of Civilization to The first six volumes of The Story of Civilization are credited to Will Durant alone, with Ariel recognized only in the Acknowledgements. The series won a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in with the 10th volume in the series, Rousseau and Revolution.
There stand the Durants, serene and complete, as I make my way through their pages. These single-volume or multi-volume combinations of command and concision — purportedly comprehensive knowledge, systematically arranged and neatly packaged — provided assurance to their readers that everything they needed to make sense of the world or some particular aspect of it could be found within the covers of these books. For many, simply possessing these books was assurance enough. This was tangibly demonstrated to me as I made my way through the first volume of the set I purchased. Due to a printing error, an entire quire of pages was missing from the volume.
His second book, The Story of Philosophy , sold more than two million copies in less than three decades and was translated into several languages.
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