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Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown

New humanism:

An American movement (1910-1933) associated with Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More. A reaction against the increasing hegemony of science, the new humanism urged a return to liberal education and objected to the specialization to which science and technology were giving rise. Endowed with free will, human beings are essentially moral agents; they cannot be studied exclusively in terms of heredity and environment or any other scientific constructs. It is not only unavoidable but also desirable that one apply extrinsic criteria -- ethical and evaluative -- to literature. (See also Christian humanism, Humanism.)

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
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University of Toronto English Library
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Last modified: March 31, 1997