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By Tom Winnifrith

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Example text

Very likely she is a university student who despises most ofher clients. It is done to put the diners at ease, to help them cope with the terrifying experience of dealing with a servant. Yet in the past everyone, at least all members of the middle class (or outer party members) had servants, and one of the ways that one was judged as an adult was on how well they were managed. How did people learn how to do it? I can only suppose that it was from the example and precept of their own parents. What do our children learn from their parents today?

Harvard University provides an interesting example of the American attitude to the past. Harvard was founded in 1636. It is therefore not new. It is located in the Boston area, a part of the United States that is commonly thought of as being given to tradition. The concluding lines of Harvard's song ('Fair Harvard') would seem to confirm an interest in the past and a concern with tradition. First flower of her wilderness, star of her night, Calm rising through change and through storm. Indeed, Harvard's popular 'image' within the United States, is of a stuffy, conservative, slightly old fashioned place.

While I was there, Harvard was engaged in vast modifications of its curriculum to provide a core of what are usually called 'great books' courses, the products of educational theories and experimentation at other universities. Looking in a recent catalogue, I notice that the broad approach (Great Ideas ofWestern Man) has been narrowed 54 1984 and All's Well? a bit, and first year students are now required to take at least one course on a rather small, specific subject (The 30 Years War; The Arthurian Romance).

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