FROM DAWN TO. DECADENCE. Years of Western. Cultural Life. to the Present. JACQUES BARZUN. Ha. HarperCollins/^/zs/rers. An outline biography of the life of the historian Jacques Barzun author of – From Dawn to Decadence – regarded as a classic cultural history review. Highly regarded here and abroad for some thirty works of cultural history and criticism, master historian Jacques Barzun has now set down in one continuo.
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He badzun known as an historian, but devoted studies to wide-ranging areas beyond that subject. Try reading this book again — maybe even start at an era that you’re already familiar with so as to get an idea of how Barzun sheds light on ideas and people during that time. They aren’t the heart of the book, and his fine art heavy story is worth while. His father came to the United States on a diplomatic mission during the war and decided Jacques should attend college there.
He can explain Romanticism and clearly distinguish realism from naturalism. This a book for the person who thinks that they will not live long enough to learn everything they want to learn.
In the beginning of the book he’ll say how he’ll use man to represent both men and women. Barzun shows us that historically there are no new things under the sun, as most historical events have distant precursor. He must balance between purely writing encyclopedic entries of ideas and narrating an overly simplistic historical account. Many very interesting points are elaborated convincingly and with strength — he destroys several common misconceptions and intellectual superstitions that have been perpetuated by much popular history writing.
I guess it will take a life time of reading and living to reach a conclusion about this Modern period. The best part of the book is that dedicated to the s, an epoch he romanticizes unabashedly – though this leads him to provide the abrzun acute observations and most detailed discussions.
Frankly, having read this work, I’m a bit embarassed to be writing a review. Read this book once and your life will change forever. The last 20 pages or so are so odd that I was dizzy. If you want to be javques, you will never finish this book or like it one iota He had and decadene on the past, to be sure, and he wasn’t about to be ensnared by the candy floss of modern culture.
The work of Decadejce Barzun’s lifetime — how could a reader not profit from this summary of so much of what this scholar and ffom had studied in his generous span?
In those works, Boorstin made history fun again, by bringing a novelistic technique to stodgy historical tomes. These aren’t big points with me, but they show me he’s not much of a science historian. I started to read a few pages but i was just lost. Regardless of these issues, it is important to highlight however that this is dawh very important and ambitious book, well written and highly insightful and original, interesting and a pleasurable reading experience, instructive and highly recommended to anybody interested in the Western cultural history of the last years.
Terrible literary biographers actually “Interview surviving contemporaries.
His entry on the origin of life account by Cairns-Smith is so layered with scientific jargons that it suggested he simply copied and pasted the key words from another author. He arrives at this idea by tracing cultural antecedents across the centuries, showing how one milestone built upon another until, somewhere in the late nineteenth century, it all started to run out of steam.
I have always found Tocqueville’s diagnosis or warning along these lines to be profoundly insightful about the modern condition. Barzun traces such key cultural developments as primitivism, emancipation, self-consciousness, and abstraction from their beginnings in the 16th century through the present. The specialists will call it middlebrow. Sometimes such views were a tad jaundiced, but it has always been hard to dismiss the views of someone who has seen so much of life.
Without doubts he can write clearly, but he also needs to digest the ideas. Only after a lifetime of separate studies covering a broad territory could a writer create with such ease the synthesis displayed in this magnificent volume.
What appear as motors xecadence cultural development can, when pursued ruthlessly and without regard to other virtues, degenerate into engines of decadence and decline.
Use notes and highlighters if necessary so that you don’t forget what you’ve learned.
Matt McClure One ddecadence argue that this book is good for someone with your criterion: As he unfolds the map in front of us, Barzun is going to define the term “decadence” lest we question his relevance and attempt to pigeonhole him as a sour old man intent on preserving the way things used to be. There’s plenty to recommend in this book.
Those folks who want a quick mystery bazun want to be entertained by a book will not enjoy this work at all. Jacques Barzun is extremely well respected and won the Nation Brief synopsis: With that focus, Barzun uses the historical pretext to uncover the kind of truths about life that can only be found in philosophical works.
Though I was enjoying this book, I was not sure what to make of it. Almost as forced as his demarcations of the last five centuries into four epochs. Born in or not, he was writing in the s and clearly did not grasp that the changes wrought by “political correctness” in many ways enhanced the cultural landscape rather than curtailing it.
In the beginning of the book he goes chro It’s good for me to read a book that takes me bqrzun of my comfort zone by reading a book like this one that mostly talks about the fine arts and written by a curmudgeon.
Superficially, these mark as the features of Western civilization but Barzun often used them for idiosyncratic observations.
It advanced yes, that term will be defined as well through four revolutions roughly years apart: If one looks at the bibliography, it is stunning jacquew any one person could have accessed all this knowledge.
This is a unique, idiosyncratic, provocative work that is definitely not a linear, dispassionate account, but a critical, personal and thorough re-evaluation of the modern era. Coming to the history of philosophical thought, he has a clear preference for Schopenhauer – this is OK, after all he is one of my favourite philosophers!
Without the human element there is no inherent value. It is the essential and probably first human fiction. That is at best otiose and, when he dismisses the leading figures in the French Revolution as “men who lacked mature political talent”, ludicrously banal.