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Jacques  Barzun

Jacques Barzun philosophizing from his wheelchair             short profile

major works
other works, other media

works about
Jacques Barzun

image gallery

friends & family


"If civilization has risen from the Stone Age, it can rise again from the Wastepaper Age."

"Music is intended for sentient beings that have hopes and purposes and emotions."

"Great cultuiral changes begin in affectation and end in routine."

"Only a great mind that is overthrown yields tragedy."

"Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition."

"Whoever wants to know about the heart and mind of America must learn about baseball."

— Jacques Barzun

          B I O
          t e x t
          h e r e

philosopher-educator Jacques Barzun was born in France and lived in the United States from the age of twelve; he taught at Columbia University from 1928 to 1975, and is credited with founding the discipline of cultural history; he married a second time in 1980 and moved to his wife's hometown of San Antonio, Texas in 1996; he died in 2012 at age 104.

The American Philosophical Society initiated the annual Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History in 1993. Barzun was dubbed a knight of the French Legion of Honor and received the American Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2003 and the 2010 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. Barzun was elected to and twice president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, from which he also received the Gold Medal for Criticism.
co-founder of the Mid-Century Book Society with W.H. Auden & Lionel Trilling
Gemini Ink honored Jacques Barzun with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006

Jacques Barzun entry at Wikipedia
browse the Jacques Barzun Store at Amazon
Barzun bibliography

Major  Works

"The French Race: Theories of Its Origins and Their Social and Political Implications" [P.S. King & Son 1932]

"Race: A Study In Modern Superstition" [1937] Methuen & Co. Ltd.
revised 1965 as "Race: A Study In Superstition"

"Of Human Freedom" [1939 & 1977] ISBN 0-8371-9321-4

"Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of A Heritage" [1941] reprint Barzun Press, 2007: ISBN 978-1-4067-6178-8

"Romanticism and The Modern Ego" [Little, Brown & Co. 1943]

"Teacher In America" [1945] reprint Liberty Fund, 1981 ISBN 0-913966-79-7

"Berlioz and The Romantic Century" in 2 volumes [Little, Brown & Co. 1950]

"Pleasures of Music: A Reader's Choice of Great Writing About Music and Musicians
From Cellini To Bernard Shaw" [Viking Press 1951]

"God's Country and Mine: A Declaration of Love, Spiced With A Few Harsh Words" [1954]
reprint Greenwood Press, 1973: 0-8371-6860-0

"Music In American Life" [Indiana Univ Press 1956]

"The Energies of Art: Studies of Authors, Classic and Modern" [Greenwood Press, 1956] ISBN 0-8371-6856-2

"The Modern Researcher" [1957 & Wadsworth Publng, 2003] with Henry F. Graff ISBN 978-0-495-31870-5

The House of Intellect book by Jacques Barzun  "The House of Intellect: How Intellect, The Prime Force In Western Civiliza-tion, Is Being Destroyed By Our Culture In The Name of Art, Science, and Philanthropy" [1959]
Harper Perennial Modern Classics 8x5¼ pb [12/2002] out of print/many used
Praeger 8¾x5½ hardcover [3/78] for $90.25 {sic}
Harper 8¼x5½ hardcover [1959] out of print/50+ used

"Lincoln The Literary Genius" [1960] first published in The Saturday Evening Post 14 February 1959

The Delights of Detection anthology edited by Jacques Barzun  "The Delights of Detection" [17 stories, 1961]
Edited With An Introduction by Jacques Barzun

Seventeen stories by authors H.C. Bailey, E.C. Bentley, Ernest Bramah, G.K. Chesterton, Edward Crispin, P.C. de Beau-marchais, Alexandre Dumas, R. Austin Freeman, Michael Gilbert, Harry Kemelman, William Leggett, Kenneth Livingston, John D. MacDonald, Daniel Pettiward, Dorothy L. Sayers, Rex Stout, and Edward Wendell
Criterion Books 8¼x6 hardcover [1961] out of print/used

"Classic, Romantic, and Modern" [1961] reprint Univ Chicago Press, 1975: ISBN 0-226-03852-1.

"Science: The Glorious Entertainment" [HarperCollins, 1964] ISBN 0-06-010240-3

"The American University: How It Runs, Where It Is Going" [1968] reprint Univ Chicago Press, 1993: ISBN 0-226-03845-9

"Berlioz and The Romantic Century" [1969] reprint: Barzun Press

"On Writing, Editing, and Publishing" [Univ Chicago Press, 1971]

"A Catalogue of Crime: Being A Reader's Guide To The Literature of Mystery, Detection, and Related Genres" [1971]
with Wendell Hertig Taylor; revised edition, Harper & Row, 1989: ISBN 0-06-015796-8

"Clio and The Doctors" [1974] reprinted Univ Chicago Press, 1993: ISBN 0-226-03851-3

"The Use and Abuse of Art (A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts)" [Princeton Univ Press, 1974] ISBN 0-691-01804-9

"Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric For Writers" [1975] 4th ed, Harper Perennial, 2001: ISBN 0-06-093723-8

"The Bibliophile of The Future: His Complaints About The Twentieth Century (Maury A. Bromsen lecture
in humanistic bibliography)" [Boston Public Library, 1976] ISBN 0-89073-048-2

"Lincoln's Philosophic Vision" [Artichokes Creative Studios, 1982]

"Critical Questions: On Music and Letters, Culture and Biography, 1940–1980" [Univ Chicago Press, 1982]
edited by Bea Friedland ISBN 0-226-03864-5

"Berlioz and His Century: An Introduction To The Age of Romanticism" [Univ Chicago Press, 1982]
ISBN 0-226-03861-0 abridgment of "Berlioz and The Romantic Century" [1969]

"A Stroll with William James" [1983] Reprint Univ Chicago Press, 2002: ISBN 978-0-226-03869-8

"A Word or Two Before You Go: Brief Essays On Language" [Wesleyan University, 1986]

"The Culture We Deserve: A Critique of Disenlightenment" [Wesleyan University, 1989] ISBN 0-8195-6237-8

An Essay on French Verse For Readers of English Poetry book by Jacques Barzun  "An Essay On French Verse: For Readers of English Poetry" [1991]
by Jacques Barzun [1907-2012]

book won the Poetry Society of America's Melville Cane Poetry Award
New Directions Publng 8½x5½ pb [4/91] for $15.95
New Directions Publng 9¼x5¾ hardcover [4/91] out of print/used

"Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning" [Univ Chicago Press, 1991] ISBN 0-226-03846-7

"From Dawn To Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 To The Present" [2000 NYT bestseller] considered his 'magnum opus'

Jacques Barzun Reader book edited by Michael Murray  "A Jacques Barzun Reader: Selections From His Works" [2001]
Edited with an Introduction by Michael Murray

Harper Perennial Modern Classics 8x5 pb [7/2003] for $14.35
Harper hardcover [12/2001] out of print/90+ used
essay topics include: Baseball, Criticism, Cultural History, The French, Intellect, Race & Racism, Rhetoric, Science, and Teaching & Learning; essay subjects include: Walter Bagehot, Samuel Butler, John Jay Chap-man, Denis Diderot, Goethe's Faust, William Hazlitt, William James, Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Sayers, Wm. Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, Rex Stout, Jonathan Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Lionel Trilling, Alfred North Whitehead, and Oscar Wilde

"What Is A School?: An Institution In Limbo" and "Trim The College! A Utopia" [Hudson Institute, 2002]

Other  Works,  Other  Media

"Samplings and Chronicles: Being The Continuation of The Philolexian Society History,
with Literary Selections From 1912 To 1927" as editor [1927]

"Introduction To Naval History" [1943 & 1946] with G. Crothers, E. Golob, and P. Beik

"The Selected Letters of Lord Byron" [1953/1957] as editor

"The Selected Writings of John Jay Chapman" [1957] as editor

"Follett's Modern American Usage" [1966 & 1974] as editor

"What Man Has Built" [1967] introductory booklet to Time Inc.'s 'Great Ages of Man' book series

"Burke and Hare: The Resurrection Men" [1974] as editor

"Three Talks At Northern Kentucky University" [1980] NKU Dept. of Literature & Language.

"Sidelights On Opera At Glimmerglass" [2001]

"Four More Sidelights On Opera At Glimmerglass: 2001–2004" [2004]

"Invitation To Learning" CBS Radio program, circa 1942

Strangely, there are no TV interviews or such listed for Jacques Barzun on Internet Movie Database (2014)

hour-long 4/2000 Barzun interview by Arthur Schlesinger on C-SPAN BookTV [1:06:11]
interview segment on Charlie Rose [May 2000]
3-hour 5/2001 Barzun interview on C-SPAN BookTV [2:52:58]
Barzun's 9/2006 video response upon receiving the Gemini Ink Lifetime Achievement Award [6:14]
watch 9/2010 interview with Barzun at San Antonio, Texas church [1:11:19] at Vimeo

Works  About  Jacques Barzun

"Jacques Barzun: Portrait of A Mind" authorized biography [Frederic C. Beil, 2011] by Michael Murray ISBN 978-1-929490-41-7

"From Parnassus: Essays In Honor of Jacques Barzun" []

bio-video shown at presentation of the Society of Columbia Graduates Great Teacher Award to Barzun in 2007 [14:54] at Vimeo

Image  Gallery

TIME Magazine cover story about Jacques Barzun, 11 June 1956

Friends  &  Family
Jacques Martin Barzun was born in France, lived in the United States from age twelve, and died in San Antonio, Texas at age 104 in 2012.

first wife violinist Mariana Lowell Barzun [?-1979] - married 1936, died 1979
son James Barzun
son Roger Barzun
daughter Isabel Barzun
granddaughter TV producer Lucy Barzun Donnelly
grandson businessman & ambassador Matthew Barzun

second wife Marguerite Lee Davenport Barzun [] - married 1980, widowed 2012

L i n k s
Jacques Barzun entry at Wikipedia
browse the Jacques Barzun Store at Amazon
Barzun bibliography
Mary Leo's Jacques Barzun Centennial fansite

here on the Jacques Barzun [1907-2012] Page at Maison d'Ętre Philosophy Bookstore

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