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For the Love of Literature

A Celebration of Language & Imagination

Edited by Douglas Gerwin Selected by Christy MacKaye Barnes

352 pp.  
6" x 9 1/4"


An unnoticed component of the present educational, social, and even ecological crises lies in the declining value given what we correctly call the “humanities.” The study of the living words of great authors—Homer, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, the Romantic poets, the Russian novelists—no longer forms the basis of the education of the human soul. The imagination is disparaged, marginalized, politicized, and devalued. Young people are instead fed a monotonous diet of information, scientism, and technology. While these are certainly important and useful—maybe even necessary to our survival—once they become the basis for educating our children, the result is an assault on what it means to be human.

Built around the work of Christy MacKaye Barnes, the themes of this collection include the training of imagination, speech, and poetry, and expanding human capacities through the study of great authors. The writers include many of the great first-generation English teachers in the Waldorf movement.


  • Part One
  • Christy MacKaye Barnes, nine essays, including:
  • “Can the Imagination Be Trained?”
  • “The Crisis of the Word Today”
  • “Why Write?”
  • “Schooling Capacities through the Study of Great Authors”
  • “Backgrounds for Russian Literature”
  • Part Two
  • Adam Bittleston, “The Future of the English Language”
  • L. Francis Edmunds, “Literature in the Upper School”
  • Linda Sawers, “In the Footsteps of Dante”
  • Isabelle Wyatt, “Chaucer and the Modern Consciousness”
  • A. C. Harwood, “Fair Mountain and Fine City”
  • Adam Bittleston, “Shakespeare’s Troubled Kings”
  • Ursula Grahl, “In Quest of the Holy Grail”
  • L. Francis Edmunds, “The Trials of Parsifal”
  • Hugh Hetherington, “Grail Mountain and Garden of Marvels”
  • Eileen Hutchins, “Wolfram and Wagner”
  • Adam Bittleston, “Christopher Fry and the Riddle of Evil”
  • Susan Demanett, “Questing toward a True Understanding of Grammar”
  • Dorit Winter, “We Love Grammar”

This collection is essential for anyone interested in the Waldorf curriculum and in restoring a real study of literature for young people.

Related Titles

  • The Genius of Language : (CW 299)
  • The Spirit of the English Language : A Practical Guide for Poets, Teachers & Students
  • In the Image of Orpheus : RILKE – A Soul History
  • The Storytelling School : Handbook for Teachers
  • Drama at the Heart : Teaching Drama in Steiner-Waldorf Schools
  • History through Stories : Teaching Primary History with Storytelling

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Family: Education & Child Development ; Waldorf & Special Needs Education: Art & Literature and Waldorf & Special Needs Education: Learning Resources