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date: 12 December 2019

Barzun, Jacques locked

  • David Trippett

Extract

(b Créteil, France, Nov 30, 1907; d San Antonio, TX, October 25, 2012). Cultural historian, critic, and teacher of French birth. Born into the artistic environs of French modernism, he wrote widely on Western culture and its documents, founding the discipline of cultural history at Columbia University, where he spent his academic career.

After leaving France for America in 1920, he attended Columbia University (BA 1927, PhD 1932) where he lectured on contemporary civilization from 1927, becoming assistant professor (1937), professor (1945), Seth Low Professor of History (1955), Provost (1958–67), and University Professor (1967–75). He also served as president of the American Academy of Arts (1972–5, 1977–8), and was made an Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University in 1960.

Barzun regarded culture as a fabric of interwoven ideas which historians should trace through time, and between which exist a series of links: “because culture is a web of many strands; none is spun by itself, nor is any cut off at a fixed date.” He viewed music through the prism of a broader culture, typified in the scope of ...

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S. Sadie and J. Tyrell, eds.: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2/London, 2001)