A lesson from our past; a possibility for our future…
I am reading for a second time the book by Jacques Barzun, “From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present, 500 years of Western Cultural Life.” I am scarcely qualified to describe the depth and breadth of this volume – some background of the book and author will have to suffice:
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 1500.
This book does not represent a passing fancy, but a summary of a lifetime’s work; Barzun was over 90 years old when it was published in 2000.
Over seven decades, Barzun wrote and edited more than forty books touching on an unusually broad range of subjects, including science and medicine, psychiatry from Robert Burton through William James to modern methods, and art, and classical music; he was one of the all-time authorities on Hector Berlioz.
At 84 years of age, he began writing his swan song, to which he devoted the better part of the 1990s. The resulting book of more than 800 pages, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present, reveals a vast erudition and brilliance undimmed by advanced age. Historians, literary critics, and popular reviewers all lauded From Dawn to Decadence as a sweeping and powerful survey of modern Western history…
I can only add: almost every sentence in the book bears witness to the depth of one who has studied a subject for seventy years.
via bionic mosquito.