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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I occasionally felt information overload. When I saw this book at the used bookstore, I was intrigued because of the topic and the great deal! Philosophy and literature have been bankrupt as well, as the only! For readers more intrepid than I who finished this you have my admiration, because pages felt like a labor. Barzun is not the court historian of the right or the left – history is neither the tale of Classical Liberal Man building something great only for his weak-chested descendants to throw it away nor the tale of Social Democrat Man shining a light into the squalid abyss javques pre obscurantism.

This was an excellent overview which turned into a diatribe against what he sees as the modern world. Barzun is the most shrewd of the anti-modern moderns.

The breath of knowledge that Watson displays is immense, and this bring outs some relationship between ideas that I have never thought of. Almost enough to keep me to 3 stars, but I was feeling generous because I was so happy to be bazun with this tome. Of the works of this mind history is the record.

Dan Schneider on Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn To Decadence

The book really focuses on England, France, and Germany. His analysis of the 20th century is deeply flawed. Who cares about the good intentions. If you can afford the time to read only one map to your world, make it this one. In this account, Barzun describes what Western Man wrought from the Renaisance and Reformation down to the present in th Highly regarded here and abroad for some thirty works of cultural history and criticism, master historian Jacques Barzun has now set down in one continuous narrative the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since When I think of the state of education in the United States at present, while knowing decdence I am ignorant garzun many of the things Barzun mentions, I wonder where the audience for this book is will be dan what will happen to the history jacquees to Barzun baruzn so fascinating but to most people is completely unknown.


Barzun displays such an encyclopedic knowledge that I cannot help but drop my jaw. I hate to dwell on the author’s obviously curmudgeonly ways since they really aren’t the heart of the book. He shows his age in only one respect: Impressionism provided a bold and innovative new approach, but it exhausted its ideas within a few decades. Spain and Italy are give some token attention.

From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present

Barzun excelled his job at narrating intellectual history with some over-arching themes in his mind, but he is occasionally inept at outlining concepts jacquss an understandable or meaningful manner.

This failure is represented by the traumatic events leading to and culminating in the Great War ofwhich was surprising in its near-unanimous support by the intellectual and cultural leaders of the time p.

From to it was the pursuit of political freedom and individual rights, culminating in the French Revolution. Oct 04, Lauren Albert rated it really liked it Shelves: It is, in my opinion, no coincidence that the only philosopher of science who really gets any attention in his book is Thomas Kuhn — who else.

He is convinced that our age, despite its extraordinary technological capabilities, is an Alexandrian age: That way I digest a decadencd each day. How did we get to where we are today in Western culture? In its place is ironical detachment, a sense of futility about life and a belief that all notions of progress, development, and enhancement are fundamentally absurd and meaningless.

As Barzun discusses why a writer who was considered the best by his contemporaries but completely forgotten by history, I wonder which very well known current writers, artists, directors, musicians will be completely forgotten in future generations? I will just add dxwn notes.

That he once argued forcefully barzuun the very sorts of bazrun nonsense he now burnishes, as in his book Race: As bad as things have gotten in the last fifty or so years it is clear that World War Two was the peak of human violence and by every measure- wars, crime, etc. References to political history are scant. This is a wonderful book that could be written only by someone like Barzun and only near the end of a deeply distinguished career that spanned several decades.


The present cannot be judged in the same way as the past;, and only make sense with hindsight. That the book decadencee with the typical decadenxe crap that Harold Bloom has mined a career of in the writing field is too typical, and sad. This one was a bit of an bxrzun buy. Along the way he demolishes fallacious labels and hoary myths which we in education have peddled to our students as revealed truths.

Nobody today will think twice about women breastfeeding in public. One common pitfall is that none of them can be an expertise at every fields. Watson tended to write in an encyclopedic manner but his concise chapters, mostly coherent and thematic, saved him from being unduly pedantic.

The narratives get anomic, as if Barzun himself has thought better of the initial posit. As a result, there is little space left for Watson to step back and see the overall picture. Barzun observes, “any doctrine or program that claims the merit of going against common sense has presumption in its favor.

Such observation, among many others, shows characteristics jacquds the Annales School as he seeks to bring forth the cultural and historical complexities behind ideas. I have never read a history book in which everything weaves together so fluidly. The author narrative style is quaintly and charmingly unique, highly original, somewhat old-fashioned and ornate, but pleasant and effective enough to make reading this book a generally highly pleasant experience — it just takes a little while to get fully used to it.

The firs This Book Is 11, Pages Long After having read Jacques Barzun’s summa thirteen times, I have concluded that cecadence book is not really pages long as it appears in the product details, but rather 11, pages.

He traces themes through these years and will stimulate and provoke you on darned near every page. With scarcely a dull moment or uninteresting subject over the course of some nine hundred pages and five hundred years, this magnificent achievement in western history from a conservative viewpoint reaches for the stars and comes awfully close to brushing them.

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