Originally published 05/15/2013
Charles Barzun is an associate professor of law at the University of Virginia.Dear Grandfather,Not long after your death on October 25 of last year, friends and relatives wondered whether I might write something about you. They knew that we had corresponded and that I regularly visited you in San Antonio, so they felt I should put something on record. But when I tried my hand at it, I found it impossible to convey my thoughts or feelings. It then occurred to me that the best way to write about you would be to write to you, as I did for so many years.Naturally, I wasn't about to discuss your many accomplishments—the positions you held, the books you wrote—the obituaries and eulogies for the great Jacques Barzun took care of all that. You were touted as one of the last true public intellectuals: a cultural historian, a philosopher of education, an authority on the English language, a prophet of Western decline. The newspapers relished the fact that you were nearly 105 years old when you passed away.
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