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U.S. Print Culture History: A Riddle—For You

February 12, 2008

Although I dearly want to comment on this Victor E. Ferrall story at, all I have time for is this:

Can anyone tell me, with some precision, about the object of the picture?

I know the answer, but am curious to see if anyone knows why I know. If so, let’s discuss the picture’s meaning. – TL


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  1. I am not sure why you know, but my guess as to the picture is that since most of the students interviewed in the article say that their education is a means to more money and material things, they are not really concerned with the journey of learning. More or less the ends justify the means.

    Those in the books were just the opposite…the journey was part of the learning and the learning was more important than the material objects of the world.




  2. Billy Yank,

    Good try, but not quite. You're definitely on the right track with your stab at the meaning, but the picture is connected to something very specific—obviously related to books—that is not always and everywhere associated with a liberal education/college. Once another day or two have passed, or someone else gives the riddle a try, I'll come back with an answer. Since I intend to comment on the article itself, I may just answer my riddle when my commentary goes up.

    BTW: Who are you? Why the anonymity?

    – TL


  3. Anonymous permalink

    Well, there's clearly a Great Books connection there, am I right? Beyond that, I'm not sure what you're getting at. Not enough Great Books in liberal education?

    -Mike N.


  4. MikeN,

    Ding, ding, ding, ding! That picture is a slice of Britannica's 1952 Great Books set. I can tell it's 1952 by the binding.

    What I found so interesting about the picture, or the meaning of its placement, is that used it to SYMBOLIZE a liberal education. As far as I know, there are no “great bookies” at Insiderhighered, so I must assume that they believe the set conveys essence of a liberal education. You mentioned “not enough,” but I don't think the article relays that.

    Anyway, thanks for coming by Mike.

    – TL


  5. Good Job! 🙂


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