gentle rereader

. . . rediscovering Jacques Barzun

Of Tags

The tags deployed with this site’s postings serve a slightly different purpose than is usual. Typically, keywords and cognates refer to the contents of the post itself. Here tags also are intended to attract readers to subjects mentioned in the Barzun works referenced, especially the shorter essays, reviews, speeches, etc. (Barzun books mentioned mostly have their own indexes, so tagging all of them would be a childish pursuit.) His flashing mind touches on a multiplicity of subjects to pursue a particular line of thought. A tag may point to a single mention of a person – by way of illustration – in that article.  The temptation to pounce on the author for an opinion regarding that subject may be great, but this gentle rereader invites you to look closer and further: What is JB’s aim in using that illustration? What else has our encyclopedic thinker said about his possibly evanescent subject? Over time, I hope that this site’s accumulation of tags will simplify that search.

2 thoughts on “Of Tags

  1. Chuck Hamilton on said:

    What a great start. Thank you. In Edmund Phelps’ new Mass Flourishing, he cites Barzun’s 1962 essay “From the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth” in Chapters in Western Civilization, Vol II, 3rd Edition, 1962. Contemporary Civilization staff of Columbia College, eds. published by Columbia U Press.

    Any chance you have this scanned or know where I could find this. Thanks very much.

    • Thank you for the reference to Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change, especially since this website is as grassroots as can be. I look forward to seeing how Phelps makes use of Barzun’s thought from A Stroll with William James, From Dawn to Decadence, and the essay you ask about. Some of Barzun’s work is becoming more and more difficult to locate, such as these three essays from An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West (9th ed. volumes from the early 1930s) that I have yet to see: “A Rationale for Modern Culture,” “The Plastic Arts: Nineteenth Century and Modern,” and “Music in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.”

      Barzun caused me to jettison the lazy assumption that work intended for students in a college text necessarily must be hackwork. After reading “From the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth” you may agree. I’m happy to report that I have a copy of that on hand. I scanned it this morning. Providing that you’re a student, scholar, or only plan to make brief use of passages for critical purposes, I will be glad to send you a link to the 8MB file if you send your email address to barzun[at]icloud[dot]com. In your email please let me know which copyright category may apply.

Responses welcomed. Courtesy appreciated.

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