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

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

3.2 9
by Jacques Barzun
 

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ISBN-10: 0060928832

ISBN-13: 9780060928834

Pub. Date: 05/28/2001

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060928834
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/2001
Series:
Harper Perennial
Edition description:
1ST PERENN
Pages:
912
Sales rank:
173,273
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.46(d)

Table of Contents

Prefacexi
Author's Notexiii
Prologue: From Current Concerns to the Subject of This Bookxvii
Part IFrom Luther's Ninety-five Theses to Boyle's "Invisible College"1
Part IIFrom the Bog and Sand of Versailles to the Tennis Court237
Part IIIFrom Faust, Part I, to the "Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2"463
Part IVFrom "The Great Illusion" to "Western Civ Has Got to Go"681
Reference Notes803
Index of Persons829
Index of Subjects853

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From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
LeoWong More than 1 year ago
This book covers a lot of ground at different levels. It is "mountainous" as the author said of one of his favorites, Montaigne. To help readers over the terrain, I have constructed an expanded table of contents of the book: http://www.murphywong.net/d2d.htm. Enjoy the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm still reading this book, and I'm reading it slowly because I am learning so much. I find myself making notes in the margins as well as jotting down thoughts and quotes in my journal. Anyone who senses something is amiss with our present day culture and wants to understand how we got here might want to try this book.
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BuzSA More than 1 year ago
After reading glowing reviews, I bought the book anticipating a great reading experience. Wrong. Maybe it's a case of the emperor's new clothes; no one wants to admit having difficulty following the author's writing because they agree with his opinions. Honestly, I don't think JB is capable of writing a simple sentence. Oh, the grammar, syntax, and punctuation are all fine, but the writing is convoluted. It's rambling. It's less history and more pontification. I thought that perhaps my reading level had slipped in the last few years, so I showed a couple of paragraphs to others, including my daughter who has a Masters in writing. Her response was, "That's how they told us not to write." If I could get a refund, I'd return it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For someone who evidently pontificated about being simple and direct, this book is the antithesis of both. Virtually every page drips with the condescending snobbery of a 'man of letters' who has seen and read about it all before. I was often left scratching my head at the end of a section, and wondering why I was forced to suffer the endless juxtapositions and what was the salient point of the bloated writing style. I am fascinated with European History, and if I had began with this book years ago I would have dumped the subject.