Humanism  book cover
2nd Edition


ISBN 9780415420655
Published March 24, 2008 by Routledge
176 Pages

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Book Description

Definitions of humanism have evolved throughout the centuries as the term has been adopted for a variety of purposes – literary, cultural and political – and reactions against humanism have contributed to movements such as postmodernism and anti-humanism. Tony Davies offers a clear introduction to the many uses of this influential yet complex concept and this second edition extends his discussion to include:

  • a comprehensive history of the development of the term and its influences
  • theories of post-humanism, cybernetics and artificial intelligence
  • implications of concepts of humanism and post-humanism on political and religious activism
  • discussion of the key figures in humanist debate from Erasmus and Milton to Chomsky, Heidegger and Foucault
  • a new glossary and further reading section.

With clear explanations and poignant discussions, this volume is essential reading for anyone approaching the study of humanism, post-humanism or critical theory.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Towards a Definition of Humanism  1. The Invention of Humanity  2. From Humanism to Antihumanism  3. Humanists Before Humanism  4. Humanism and Enlightenment  5. The End of Humanism  Glossary.  References and Related Reading

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Tony Davies was formerly Professor and Head of the English Department at the University of Birmingham, from which he recently retired. He has edited Milton’s poetry and prose, and written on renaissance and modern literature, literary theory and the teaching of English.


'Davies knows what he is writing about and knows how to write about it.' - New Humanist