Will Durant


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William James Durant (/dəˈrænt/; November 5, 1885 – November 7, 1981) was an American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife, Ariel Durant, and published between 1935 and 1975. He was earlier noted for The Story of Philosophy (1924), described as "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy."

He conceived of philosophy as total perspective or seeing things sub-specie totius, a phrase inspired by Spinoza's sub-specie aeternitatis. He sought to unify and humanize the great body of historical knowledge, which had grown voluminous and become fragmented into esoteric specialties, and to vitalize it for contemporary application. 

Will and Ariel Durant were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1968 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977. From 1907 to 1911, Durant taught Latin and French at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. After leaving Seton Hall, Durant was a teacher at Ferrer Modern School from 1911 to 1913. 

Ferrer was "an experiment in libertarian education," according to the Who's Who of Pulitzer Prize Winners. Alden Freeman, a supporter of the Ferrer Modern School, sponsored him for a tour of Europe. At the Modern School, he fell in love with and married a 15-year-old pupil, Chaya (Ida) Kaufman, whom he later nicknamed "Ariel." The Durants had one daughter, Ethel, and a "foster" son, Louis, whose mother was Flora—Ariel's sister.

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