The Last Modernist: The Legacy of Jacques Barzun

By |2019-04-04T22:29:20-05:00April 4th, 2019|

As recently as half a century ago, there was a significant community in the United States which aspired—in a humble, decent, republican way—to acquire and promote high culture. These were the sort of people who launched “great books” programs, and begged European intellectuals to cross the Atlantic and teach them everything they knew. Jacques Barzun [...]

On Baseball

By |2019-03-27T22:20:45-05:00March 27th, 2019|

Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game. That baseball fitly expresses the powers of the nation's mind and body is a merit separate from the glory of being the most active, agile, varied, articulate, and brainy of all group games. People [...]

Jacques Barzun and Hector Berlioz

By |2019-04-19T00:51:56-05:00February 27th, 2019|

In his two-volume Berlioz and the Romantic Century, historian Jacques Barzun argued that the much-maligned and misunderstood composer was in fact the dominant cultural figure of his day, “who by will and genius stamped his effigy upon the nineteenth century” and brought “kings, ministers, and public institutions, no less than poets and musicians, under his spell.” Publisher's Note: This essay [...]

Jacques Barzun: Ten Brilliant Observations on Man and Culture

By |2019-03-01T13:03:55-05:00August 23rd, 2018|

Jacques Barzun (1907-2012) was one of the preeminent historians of the twentieth century. Valedictorian of the 1930 class at Columbia, where he also received his Ph.D., Barzun wrote extensively on culture and education while serving in professorial and leadership roles at Cambridge and Columbia. His magnum opus, From Dawn to Decadence (2000), which traces the history [...]