Following the bestselling From Dawn to Decadence (2000), a sampler of Barzun’s writings, selected and edited by his biographer, demonstrating again the depth and breadth of his learning, the originality of his thinking, and his commitment to speak to the general reader in engaging, intelligent prose. Arranged thematically, these 80 essays and excerpts present a man endlessly curious, and always ready to question his own assumptions. Included are pieces on criticism, science, the idea of race, Wilde, Shaw, mystery writers Chandler and Stout, American democracy, opera, and Faust. Each essay yields unexpected insights, and the volume as a whole makes clear why Barzun is probably our best-known public intellectual.
Challenging, satisfying, elegant.