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 tells me the Puritans really weren’t puritanical, the Victorians weren’t prudes and other such rubbish. They aren’t the heart of the book, and his fine art heavy story is worth while. On top of his writing skills, he also provided the reader with a wealth of vignettes about important players in this drama.

With that focus, Barzun uses the historical pretext to uncover the kind of truths about life that can only be found in philosophical works. The firs This Book Is 11, Pages Long After having read Jacques Barzun’s summa thirteen times, I have concluded that this book is not really pages long as it appears in the product details, but rather 11, pages.

Are 20th century works weaker than their predecessors by an order of magnitude? It isn’t a book to read, it is a book to experience. In fact, all human wealth comes from human activity admixed with human desire. Open Preview See a Problem? Barzun excelled his job at narrating intellectual history with some over-arching themes in his mind, but he is occasionally inept at outlining concepts in an understandable or meaningful manner.

Barzun identifies themes that connect one period to another, making them stand out with capitalization. How else to explain damning the rise of sports professionalism while defending Surrealist art?

Yet, the reader senses that Barzun himself believes that western culture has not lost its roots in rationality and pragmatism. The author is erudite, highly original and insightful.

The longest book I have ever read, thanks to great number of “read more about it in X” detractions which forced me to read couple of great books in between and more left in in the queue. If the present really is decadent, getting here was a wild ride, and Barzun is a wonderful guide to the highlights along the way.


See 1 question about From Dawn to Decadence…. Your email address will not be published. A man is the whole encyclopaedia of facts.

He’s an expert at relating the modern thinkers to the time period he is considering. Barzun treats countless historical developments with grace and originality, offering new interpretations of developments of jacqes modern era such as Puritanism, The French Revolution, and Romanticism.

This is big-picture history in the grand sense, tracing the key ideas that led to the modern world.

Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn To Decadence

Barzun shows us that historically there are no new things under the sun, as fecadence historical events have distant precursor. As Ddecadence read the book I perused How did we get to where we are today in Western culture? Attached to some of the names, but also quite independent elements in themselves, are the nine themes that this book presents: And he has his mother to consider. I started to read a few pages but i was just lost.

Or seeing no link between decafence and modern capitalism? Its features useful typographic conventions, such as the use of SmallCaps for themes such as primitivism, in-line references to other pages discussing related topics, index of personages.

Part two opens with the ascent of Louis XIV and the rise of the nation state; it ends with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

I marveled at the knowledge and the breadth of Mr. I didn’t want it to end. He will disparage ‘scientism’.

Most of all, Barzun wants to judge the present generation, and he finds us sadly lacking. He shows his age in only one respect: Barzun’s book, written in a light, lucid, epigrammatic style, reads like a set of notes drawn from a lifetime’s contemplation of the route by which the US and Europe arrived at Eminem, George W Bush and the Millennium Dome.

Almost enough to keep me to 3 stars, but I was feeling generous because I was so happy to be finished with this tome. Such books are probably a prerequisite daqn this one, as Barzun assumes a basic understanding of much of the actual historical events.

It is worth your time. People like me, really need to learn about literature, poetry, music all the things I’ve avoided my whole life.

The age of entropy

Stopping every so often to familiarize yourself with a word, person, or idea can become tiresome, but it is required for learning and being able to understand the author’s argument. The brevity is amazing. Nobody today will think twice about women breastfeeding in public.


His discussion of music, for example, focuses largely on abstract experimentalists such as John Cage – jazz and blues get a passing mention, while punk and electronika get nothing at all, even though any one of those movements had a greater political, social, and cultural weight than the experimental evolutions of “classical” music. Although the dzwn was a time of cultural fecundity, Barzun rightly notes that most of the developments had occurred before World War I, but did not achieve popular recognition until after the war.

Now, if his bleakest pronouncements are to be taken at face value, it is cawn at all: Many under-appreciated and under-reported authors and thinkers are dutifully represented, and this is highly laudable, but occasionally the author really goes too far, and in such cases the narrative becomes a dull list of unknown authors and books that are only very succinctly described, that are forgotten as soon as the reader turns the page, and that add absolutely nothing to the value of the overall story.

He said that “the Kaiser did everything in his power for Austria to avert war”, and both sides are to blame for the great war. It is a rigorous and rewarding read.

Review: From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun | Books | The Guardian

Sep 13, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: Disbelief can be explained tk “perverse wickedness”. The present age, unquestionably suspicious of ideology, may appear bereft of genius and empty of meaning; but who knows, any day now another Luther may be posting a new set of incendiary propositions on the internet, making placemen and plutocrats quake.

dwwn Seeing the praise being lavished upon this work with so few exceptions, however, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give this a try. Nothing is sacred religious or otherwise.