Education: Debating in the Groves of Aspen

During a visit to the University of Chicago in 1934, Gertrude Stein landed in a steamy after-dinner debate with Philosopher Mortimer Adler about the merits of teaching literature in translation. Stein was firmly against it, and Adler defended the proposition fiercely. Suddenly she rose from her chair, marched over to Adler, and rapped him on the head. Said Stein: "I can see that you are the kind of young man who is accustomed to winning arguments."

That he is. Last week Mortimer Adler, now a jaunty 74, author of 26 books, progenitor of the...

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