Humanism: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover


2nd Edition

By Tony Davies


176 pages

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pub: 2008-03-10
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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.


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

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

About the Author/Editor

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.

About the Series

The New Critical Idiom

The New Critical Idiom is an invaluable series of introductory guides designed to meet the needs of today's students grappling with the complexities of modern critical terminology. Each book in the series provides:

  • A clear, explanatory guide to the use (and abuse) of the term
  • An original and distinctive overview by a leading literary and cultural critic
  • Helpful definitions of the boundaries between the literary and non-literary
  • Basic guidance for the introductory reader in how the term relates to the larger field of cultural representation

With a strong emphasis on clarity, lively debate and the widest possible breadth of examples, The New Critical Idiom is an indispensable guide to key topics in literary studies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Movements / Humanism