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From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present, 500 Years of Western Cultural Life


From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present, 500 Years of Western Cultural Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780060175863
ISBN10: 0060175869
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

In this account, Barzun describes what Western Man wrought from the Renaisance and Reformation down to the present in the double light of its own time and our pressing concerns. He introduces characters and incidents with his unusual literary style and grace, bringing to the fore those that have "Puritans as Democrats," "The Monarch's Revolution," "The Artist Prophet and Jester"--show the recurrent role of great themes throughout the eras.

The triumphs and defeats of five hundred years form an inspiring saga that modifies the current impression of one long tale of oppression by white European males. Women and their deeds are prominent, and freedom (even in sexual matters) is not an invention of the last decades. And when Barzun rates the present not as a culmination but a decline, he is in no way a prophet of doom. Instead, he shows decadence as the creative novelty that will burst forth--tomorrow or the next day.

Only after a lifetime of separate studies covering a broad territory could a writer create with such ease the synthesis displayed in this magnificent volume.


"Profound, eloquent, often witty...a book of enormous riches....This is a book to be reckoned with." Publishers Weekly


Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.

About the Author

Born in France in 1907, Jacques Barzun came to the United States in 1920. After graduating from Columbia College, he joined the faculty of the university, becoming Seth Low Professor of History and, for a decade, Dean of Faculties and Provost. The author of some thirty books, including the New York Times bestseller From Dawn to Decadence, he received the Gold Medal for Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he was twice president. He lived in San Antonio, Texas, before passing away at age 104.

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IrishCoffee, October 22, 2014 (view all comments by IrishCoffee)
A comprehensive and bold look at 500 years of Western culture.
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Product Details

500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present
Barzun, Jacques
New York, NY :
Europe - General
Civilization, western
Learning and scholarship
World - General
Europe - Western
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.49x6.42x1.99 in. 2.99 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » Western Civilization

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Product details 896 pages HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS - English 9780060175863 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Profound, eloquent, often witty...a book of enormous riches....This is a book to be reckoned with."
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