gentle rereader

. . . rediscovering Jacques Barzun

Home

Welcome.  Cultural historian Jacques Barzun is at the heart of this site.  My occasional posts include reflections while engaged in the projects described in WHAT NEXT?

OF TAGS describes this site’s broader than customary use of subject keywords.

Clicking on the menu item SCANNED will take you to the main bibliography page with updates on overall progress.  Rolling over SCANNED reveals the various Parts of Barzun’s bibliography.  Clicking on any of these Parts leads to a page listing items that have been added thus far.  Clicking on any linked article or book in that list leads on to another page with details on that particular item.  As Barzun’s works contain over 2,000 items, this will take some time.

Please review certain precautions given in the 16 March 2012 posting, The Advantages of Inconsistency.

When this project reaches completion, I hope that it will be easier for interested persons to find the Barzun they seek.  And using the Search box should get them there quickly.

Thanks for your interest.

John Adams

2 thoughts on “Home

  1. I read once that Prof. Barzun told someone that he was thinking of writing “From Dawn to Decadence”and was advised to wait until he had lived longer than 80 years.
    Will you please reiterate this occasion in alittle more detail? Many thanks.

  2. Barzun mentions that episode in other contexts, but the only account that also names the friend of Jacques’ father who offered the advice appears in Michael Murray’s new biography, at page 261:

    [Murray] “As he records in the preface to his manuscript ‘Thoughts and Deeds of Western Man,’ in ‘Plans and Sketches for Book on Western Civ.,’ San Antonio, March 1991, Barzun confided to a friend his intention to write a comprehensive history, with an unexpected result:”

    [Barzun] “Shortly after graduating from Columbia College, my older classmate and friend Hugh Kelly made a rapid rise as editor at McGraw Hill. In talks about our respective hopes and futures, my foolhardy project naturally figured. Hugh, to my surprise, not only took it as a matter of course that I could pull it off, he also performed a time warp and without previous notice handed me a contract for a Cultural History of Modern Europe, delivery in three years. I demurred, saying, like the innocent I was, it might take me five. ‘Never mind,’ said Hugh, ‘take five. It’s got to be good.’ I signed.”

    [Murray] “He soon realized that he could not write such a book [Barzun] ‘in three or five or fifteen years. I suddenly remembered a conversation I had had with a friend of my father’s, M. Cadet de Gassicourt at the Bibliothèque Nationale, when I began the research for my dissertation. He was frail, elderly, but emphatic: all the good texts in use in the lycées were written by men in their eighties. It was only at that age that one could get the proportions right, to say nothing of the use of time in acquiring first-hand knowledge.’ “

Responses welcomed. Courtesy appreciated.

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