Monday, November 30, 2009

1907 to the Present

Today Jacques Barzun is 30 November 1907 to the Present. Joyeux anniversaire!

See also Contemplating a Masterpiece.

Friday, November 27, 2009

John P. Richardson - The Ugley Vicar

Recently I have been revisiting Jacques Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence, and have been struck by the importance of his definition of decadence for what we now see happening in the Western world:

All that is meant by Decadence is "falling off." It implies in those who live in such a time no loss of energy or talent or moral sense. On the contrary , it is a very active time, full of deep concerns, but peculiarly restless, for it sees no clear lines of advance. The loss it faces is that of Possibility. The forms of art as of life seem exhausted, the stages of development have been run through. Institutions function painfully. Repetition and frustration are the intolerable result. Boredom and fatigue are great historical forces.

It is this which we surely see in our own culture, and it is important not just for those of a ‘religious’ persuasion but for us all.

— John P. Richardson, The Ugley Vicar, What Next for the West?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thomas E. Burman wins 2008 Barzun Prize

The American Philosophical Society awarded the 2008 Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History to Dr. Thomas E. Burman for his book, Reading the Qur’an in Latin Christendom, 1140-1560. The award was presented by Mary Patterson McPherson, Executive Officer of the Society. The award ceremony took place on Nov. 14, 2008.