Thursday, November 30, 2006



Jacques Barzun was born in Créteil, France, on 30 November 1907.

Photo of l'Abbaye group
Le groupe de l'Abbaye de Créteil: 1er plan: Charles Vildrac, René Arcos, Albert Gleizes, Henri Martin Barzun, Alexandre Mercereau 2ème plan: Georges Duhamel, Berthold Mahn, Jacques d’Otémar
(photo DARNAC, Paris)
From: Albert Gleizes at Les Amis de Jean Chevalier

H. M. Barzun by Berthold Mahn
Henri Martin Barzun by Berthold Mahn (1906)
From: Henri-Martin Barzun (1881- ?) in Les Amis de Georges Duhamel et de l’Abbaye de Créteil. H. M. Barzun’s dates are Feb. 25, 1881 – July 12, 1972.

Jacques Barzun sitting in front of Gleizes portrait of Madame H. M. Barzun
Jacques Barzun (ca. 2000) and a portrait of his mother
Photograph by Darwin Weigel

Behind Mr. Barzun is a portrait of Madame H. M. Barzun by Albert Gleizes (1911). According to Daniel Robbins, Albert Gleizes, 1881–1953, A Retrospective Exhibition (Guggenheim Museum, 1964), “Begun in the spring, this portrait was never finished, for after the summer Gleizes realized that his intervening stylistic development made it impossible to complete the portrait in a homogeneous style.”

Mr. Barzun has donated this painting to the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio.

See also:

From the Barzun File

To Jacques Barzun on His 95th Birthday

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Letter to the New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Critic Has Praise for a Playwright (Himself)” by Jonathan Kalb [Nov. 12]:

In addition to being a critic, academic, translator and playwright, Eric Bentley has also been a showman with an uncanny way of singing Brecht’s lyrics. His was not a musical voice but a highly expressive one that could bring out Brecht’s cynicism without resorting to agitprop growling. Equally important, Mr. Bentley was part of Columbia University’s golden age, when professors like Gilbert Highet, Maurice Valency, Lionel Trilling and Jacques Barzun, among others, convinced a generation that a humanistic education was a goal worth pursuing. Mr. Bentley was a popularizer, but in the best sense. He made it seem that with a degree in one of the humanities, there was no limit to what one could accomplish.

Bernard F. Dick
Teaneck, N.J.
The writer is a professor of communication and English at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
New York Times, November 19, 2006


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On Report Writing

[Aloysius Lee Fook Kwang] reminded the [school inspectors] that preparing an inspection report was not easy and they, therefore, should revise and redraft their report several times. “No one, however gifted, can produce a passable first draft. Writing means rewriting,” he said, quoting Barzun, J. and Graff.
— “School inspectors receive tips to produce quality reports,” The Brunei Times, 14-Nov-06

The youth thinks he is writing essays like T. S. Eliot’s, yet he cannot write a report like a well-trained policeman.
— Jacques Barzun, The House of Intellect (1959).


Friday, November 10, 2006

Barzun’s Contributions to The American Scholar — with Additions

Compiled by Mark Halpern
Revised April 27, 2006, to include three additional items from John E. Adams
Revised November 9, 2006, with additions & corrections from Jason Rawnsley

(starred items signed “Roger du Béarn”)
Date of Issue Title or Subject
Spring 1940 To the Rescue of Romanticism
Summer 1940 And Jacques Barzun Retorts
Spring 1945 Machiavelli Dead and Gone
Summer 1946 Of Making Books
Autumn 1946 Ça existe: A Note on the New Ism
Summer 1948 Radio in America
Summer 1951 The Retort Circumstantial
      "         " An American Encyclopedia (review)
      "         " A Loyalty Oath for Scholars (signed “Hippocrates Jr.”)
Summer 1952 A Writer Replies
Winter 1954-5 The Scholar’s Scratchpad
Summer 1955 page-long letter (pages 283–4)
Autumn 1956 The New Man in the Arts
Summer 1957 Fowler’s Generation
Winter 1957-8 A Chance to Tinker to Evans
      "         " Brief Comments (review)
Autumn 1958 Suspense Suspended
Spring 1959 A Lincoln Anthology in Brief
Spring 1960 TV in the World of Letters (signed “Anon”)
Autumn 1960 Brief Comments (review)
Spring 1962 In Favor of Capital Punishment
Summer 1962 Speaking of Means and Ends
Autumn 1962 A Briefbag of Felonies (essay-review)
Spring 1963 What is a Dictionary? (The Scholar Cornered)
Spring 1964 College to University — And After
Spring 1965 Meditations on the Literature of Spying
Autumn 1965* Art and Letters: In the Hand or in the Bush?
Autumn 1966* Art and Letters: The Feast of Cybernesia
Summer 1967 Controversy: About Cybernesia
      "         " * Art and Letters: Enigma Variations
      "         " Editorial on Irita Van Doren
Spring 1968 Arts and Letters: Scholarship
Autumn 1968 Five Thousand Orange Pips, or The Seeds of Pedantry (essay-review)
Winter 1969-70 The Book, the Bibliographer and the Absence of Mind
Summer 1970 The Horizontal Life (Controversy)
Autumn 1970 An Uncommon Carrier of Truth (Joseph Wood Krutch)
Spring 1974 Tribute to Hiram Haydn
Spring 1981 Sherlock Holmes and Sociology
Autumn 1981 Le Faux Chic (On Franglais)
Winter 1982-3 William James, Author
Spring 1984 The Aesthetics of the Criminous
Autumn 1984 The Colossus Laid Out
Summer 1985 Behind the Blue Pencil: Censorship or Creeping Creativity?
Winter 1985–86Reply to Julia Glass’ letter re: Behind the Blue Pencil
Autumn 1986 Look It Up! Check It Out!
Spring 1987 Thoreau the Thorough Impressionist
Summer 1989 The Paradoxes of Creativity
Autumn 1990 The Cradle of Modernism
Summer 1992* Clerihews for the Clerisy. Or: A Quick Fix for Cultural Illiteracy
Winter 1993 An Historian Who Writes History
Autumn 1993* Clerihews for the Clerisy II
Summer 1994 Letter on “romanticism” as used by Paul McHugh in the previous issue
Autumn 1994 The Press and the Prose
Summer 1995 The Press and the Prose: An Exchange (w. Benjamin W. Fortson IV)
Spring 1996 Is Music Unspeakable?
Summer 1996* Clerihews for the Clerisy III
Winter 2000 The Artist as Prophet and Jester
Summer 2001 Three Men and a Book
Autumn 2001 reprint (p. 14) of paragraph from Spring ’65 piece on spy literature
Summer 2006 brief letter on English usage and needless neologisms
Item Count = 59