The Humanities Compete with the Sciences

Today I read William Ellery Channing’s 1826 essay, “Remarks on the Character and Writings of John Milton,” and I found the following passage humorous because it expresses the long competition between humanities and the sciences. He writes that poetry is important because

It is needed to counteract the tendency of physical science, which, being now sought, not, as formerly, for intellectual gratification, but for multiplying bodily comforts, requires a new development of imagination, taste, and poetry, to preserve men from sinking into an earthly, material, Epicurean life. (499)

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