Jacques Barzun, wide-ranging cultural historian, dies at 104

Historians in the News

Jacques Barzun, a Columbia University historian and administrator whose sheer breadth of scholarship — culminating in a survey of 500 years of Western civilization — brought him renown as one of the foremost intellectuals of the 20th century, died Oct. 25 in San Antonio, where he had lived in recent years. He was 104.

His son-in-law Gavin Parfit confirmed his death, the Associated Press reported....

Dr. Barzun was a cultural historian, concerned with the interrelationships of intellectual movements over time and how ideas transform a civilization.

In addition to conducting dynamic and wide-ranging seminars at Columbia with literary critic Lionel Trilling, Dr. Barzun wrote dozens of books on intellectual history and several volumes on the state of American education. Other topics he explored included French and German literature; music, language and etymology; crime fiction; suspense writer Edgar Allan Poe as proofreader; and President Abraham Lincoln as prose stylist....

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Jacques Barzun, 1907-2012

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