A Jacques Barzun Compendium

Select Links to Online References


I. Life & Work
II. Obituaries & Remembrances

This listing of online materials marking the death of cultural historian Jacques Barzun (1907 - 2012) was begun in December 2012. New items [marked ] will be added as they become known. Compiled by Louis Torres.

II. Obituaries & Remembrances


* "Jacques Barzun '27, '32 GSAS, Esteemed Historian and Professor," Timothy P. Cross '98 GSAS, Columbia College Today, Winter 2012-13.

* "Jacques Barzun," Conrad Wilson, The Herald (Scotland), November 10, 2012. Leo Wong posts a correction as well as comments.

* "Jacques Barzun--and Others," Michael Dirda, Browsings [American Scholar weblog], November 2, 2012 [date provided by Dirda]. Lead: "The eminent scholar was among the last representatives of a grand literary tradition."

* "Barzun's Mind Was One of World's Wonders," Cary Clack, San Antonio Express News, October 30, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun, Obituary," Douglas Johnson, The Guardian (U.K.), October 29, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun, 1907-2012," Alexander Nazaryan, NY Daily News, October 26, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun Dies at 104; Cultural Critic Saw the Sun Setting on the West," Edward Rothstein, New York Times (Arts section), October 25, 2012. The longest and most comprehensive obituary. (Reprinted in more readable format in New English Review, October 26, 2012.)

* "Author, Thinker Barzun Dies at 104," My San Antonio, San Antonio Express-News, October 26, 2012. "The cause of death, said Barzun's wife Marguerite, was 'old age. He was just used up,' she said. 'He didn't even want to read the newspaper anymore. He told me he wanted to die at home, and I promised I'd take care of him.'"

* "Jacques Barzun, Wide-Ranging Cultural Historian, Dies at 104," Joe Holley, Washington Post, October 26, 2012. (See comments by Louis Torres and others.)


* "Jacques Barzun Was a Man of the Century," Jay Ambrose, Santa Maria Times, Columbus, Indiana, Scripps Howard News Service, November 27. Ambrose is a columnist and former editor. An ease of style gives his comments on Barzun's New York Timesobituary and From Dawn to Decadence a welcome personal touch. He is mistaken, however, that both Erasmus and Wordsworth are quoted by Barzun as saying "Oh, what a joy to be alive"--neither one said that [see pages 786 and 80, respectively], and he omits Barzun's exclamation point at the end of that statement. But no matter.

* "Jacques Barzun: His Life and His Life [scroll down to excerpt], Mark Halpern, The Vocabula Review, November 2012. (The full text of Halpern's lament is available only to TVR subscribers.)

* "Jacques Barzun, Protector of English," Ben Zimmer, Boston Globe, November 25, 2012. The title tells it all. (See also the entry just below this one.)

* "Jacques Barzun," American Heritage Dictionary [weblog], November 15, 2012. (See esp. Barzun's answers--including one in his own hand--to the questionnaire sent to the dictionary's select usage panelists.)

* "Jacques Barzun, R.I.P." John Simon, Uncensored John Simon [weblog], November 12, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun: The Cheerful Pessimist," The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, November 2, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun: 1907-2012," E. Warren Perry Junior, Face to Face [weblog], National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, November 2, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun: His Writings Influenced My Teaching," Janice Hidey, Drawing the Line Somewhere (weblog), October 29, 2012.

* "'They give the culture a new face,'" Mark Sarvas, The Elegant Variation (weblog), October 27, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun: An Appreciation," Joseph Epstein, Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2012. (Full article accessible only to WSJ subscribers.)

* "Jacques Barzun, 1907-2012," Brian P. Kelly, New Criterion, October 26, 2012. Includes links to four articles on Barzun previously published in the journal.

* "Teacher in America," Chet Raymo, Science Musings Blog, November 8, 2012. Raymo, a novelist and emeritus professor of science, muses on Barzun's argument that teachers do not "educate" but "teach."

* "Jacques Barzun, 1907-2012," Mark Malvasi, University Bookman, Fall 2012 (posted November 5).

* "Jacques Barzun, Farewell," Todd Shallat, Blue Review, October 31, 2012. Shallat recalls The Modern Researcher as having been required reading in graduate school.

* "Remembering Jacques Barzun, Remembering Robert Pitney," Paul Devlin, Daily Beast, October 29, 2012. Commemorating Barzun through his own memorial to a friend who died when they were both 37.

* "Longtime Professor, Provost Jacques Barzun, Developed Core, Dies at 104," Gina Lee and Casey Tolan, Columbia Spectator, October 26, 2012. The writers cite a few interesting facts regarding Barzun's undergraduate days at Columbia that seem not to have been reported elsewhere. Of special interest is an image of the first part of his review of the Varsity show of 1927, on the front page of the Spectator.

* "Jacques Barzun, Atlantic Contributor and Renaissance Man, Dies at 104," Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, The Atlantic, October 26, 2012. Lead: "Whether he was writing about American slang or Lord Byron, the vibrant thinker defied boundaries until the end of his long life." (Comments by John Adams, Barzun's bibliographer, among others.)

* "Jacques Barzun (1907-2012): A Catalogue of the Mind," Curtis Evans, The Passing Tramp: Wandering through the mystery Genre, book by book [weblog], October 26, 2012. On A Catalogue of Crime (1971, 1989), a critique of crime fiction co-authored by Barzun and fellow-professor Wendell Hertig Taylor.

* "Now on to Renascence," Arsen Darnay, Chulf Genes (weblog), October 26, 2012. Darnay remarks: "There are these circles, of course, of invisible friends, and he was one of ours."

* "R.I.P., Jacques Barzun," Jamesian Philosophy Refreshed, Christopher Faille, November 1, 2012. A heartfelt remembrance.

* "Jacques Barzun: Anti-Educationist?" Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Education, October 31, 2012. Jacques Barzun Fan Club Facebook comments posted on October 31 by Louis Torres: "A rather nasty piece . . . deeply offensive" (appearing, as it did, so soon after Barzun's death). Response by Charles Barzun (a grandson): "I agree that the tone is a little snarky. . . ."

* "Jacques Barzun: A Personal Remembrance," A. Graham Down, Education Next, October 30, 2012.

* "Barzun's Mind Was One of World's Wonders," Cary Clack, San Antonio Express-News, October 30, 2012.

* "Vale: Jacques Barzun," Christopher Faille, AllAboutAlpha.com, October 29, 2012.

* "Jacques Barzun, A Return Engagement," Maxine McClintock, Formative Justice, October 29, 2012. Thirty-three years after having first read Teacher in America, and having taught history in public and private high schools as well as at the college level for thirty-two years, McClintock wondered if the book could still inspire teachers six decades after its publication. In this essay on the nature of teaching, she makes a compelling argument that it indeed can.

* "Columbia Icon Jacques Barzun Dies After Extraordinary Life of Intellectual Leadership," Columbia News, October 26, 2012. Includes video on Barzun's life and work shown at the presentation to him of the Society of Columbia Graduates' 59th Annual Great Teacher Award in 2007.

* "Jacques Barzun Dies at 104," D.G. Myers, Commentary, October 26, 2012. See also Myers' "Barzun on Intellect," a selection of some of the "best sentences" from Barzun's House of Intellect--"a critique and an apologia for the role [of public intellectual]."

Life & Work