In From Dawn to Decadence , he manages to touch on just about all his lifelong interests, and without turning the book into a mere anthology. The whole text is broken up into digestible chunks of commentary and biography.
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Georg Lichtenberg. Others are just a bit neglected, such as the senior Oliver Wendell Holmes. Barzun manages to praise this physician and essayist while barely mentioning his jurist son. A particularly entertaining feature of the book is the brief, apt quotations set into the margins. From Dawn to Decadence has only a minimal amount of political and military narrative, which is something of a drawback since the author routinely makes unexplained allusions to people and events that may no longer be common knowledge.
Do undergraduates today know what Stanley said to Livingston? These will allow readers to entertain themselves by looking for mistakes. Parlor games aside, the author corrects errors that are far more important than the ones he makes.
He points out, for instance, that, no, M. Intellectual superstitions of this sort are probably immortal, but it is a good idea to try to correct them at least once every five hundred years. According to Barzun, the West has been working out a cultural impulse that it received in the Renaissance, an impulse that had become exhausted by the end of the twentieth century. This impulse was not an ideology or an agenda but an expandable list of desires, particular forms of which can be detected throughout all the cultural and political controversies of the great era.
Another example is Primitivism, the perennial impulse to return to the original text, to the early constitution, to the uncluttered state of the beginning. Ideas like these can hardly be said to have been the motor of Western history, but looking for their various incarnations over the centuries does make it much easier to view the era as a whole.
Decadence may end in the explosion of a revolution, by which Barzun means the violent transfer of power and property in the name of an idea.
From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life USED BOOK
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Retrieved May 20, June 11, Retrieved November 1, San Antonio Express-News. The Daily Telegraph. October 26, July 6, Retrieved October 26, Washington Post. Mystery Writers of America.
Retrieved July 4, The Courier-Mail , January 31, Consisting of Ego 8 and Ego 9. Wall Street Journal , October 29, Retrieved on July 24, Archived from the original on July 31, Retrieved July 25, March 1, Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Yet the ignorance of classical music among a large percentage of the Western population possibly calls for a greater treatment of the subject, in which case Barzun would be undeserving of such criticism.
Yet one must also remember that as late as , whole paragraphs in J. A recent reissue of the so-called "definitive edition" still excludes many of those passages. Thus the certainty of social progress and acceptance is still dubious. The index alone is a remarkable achievement. One section is devoted to proper names, complete with dates of birth and death, and bold page numbers to indicate a higher degree of concentration on the subject instead of a casual reference.
From Dawn To Decadence
The other section lists places, events and themes in acute detail. Some forty pages of endnotes serve as superb guides for further research and historical disclaimers. Furthermore, the text margins are peppered with quotes from central personalities and Barzun's own bracketed suggestions of books to read for better understanding.
One might add that he is not above recommending his own work where appropriate. The revelations found within these pages are no less than essential for anyone who seeks a better understanding of the socio-political development and, equally as important, one's own place in history.
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