What is High Culture For?


Nathaniel Peters is in the business of minding the gap—the gap between what today’s students learn in college, and what they need to know to participate fully in the life of the mind.

As executive director of the Morningside Institute, an independent organization near Columbia University, he introduces students to the great books and works of art that too often get overlooked.

In this conversation, Nathaniel and I talk about Verde’s Falstaff, which reimagines and tells in operatic form the story of one of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, and the Morgan Library’s exhibit on J.R.R. Tolkien. And we talk more broadly about what the collegiate experience is like for students who, despite the unraveling of the core curriculum, still seek a good education.

Listen through to the end to hear us debate whether any “Great Books” should be demoted from the list. 

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