alt


"Life being very short, and the quiet hours few,
we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books."

—John Ruskin

alt


"The world is a book, and those who do not travel,
read only a page."

—St. Augustine

alt

 

"For books are more than books, they are the life,
the very heart and core of ages past.
The reason why men lived, and worked, and died,
the essence and quintessence of their lives."

—Amy Lowell

alt


"As good almost kill a man as kill a good book:

who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image;

but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself."

—John Milton

alt


"In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time,
the articulate audible voice of the Past,
when the body and the material substance of it
has altogether vanished like a dream."

—Thomas Carlyle

alt


"In the best books, great men talk to us,
give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours.
God be thanked for books.
They are the voices of the distant and the dead,
and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.
Books are true levelers. They give to all, who will faithfully use them,
the society, the spiritual presence of the best and greatest."

—William Ellery Channing

alt


"We all know that books burn—yet we have
the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire.
People die, but books never die.
No man and no force can abolish memory. . . .
In this war, we know, books are weapons."

—Franklin Delano Roosevelt

alt

 

"We need the books that effect us like a disaster,

that grieve us deeply,

like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves,

like being banished into forests far from everyone. . . .

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us."

—Franz Kafka

alt


"Every creature is full of God,
and is a book about God."

—Meister Eckehart

alt


"A book, too, can be a star,
a living fire to lighten the darkness,
leading out into the expanding universe."

—Madeleine L'Engle

alt


"The man who doesn't read good books
has no advantage over the man who can't read them."

—Mark Twain

alt


"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it.
I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. . . .
What I began by reading, I must finish by acting."

—Henry David Thoreau

alt


"The love of learning,
the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books."

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

alt


"A truly great book should be read in youth,
again in maturity and once more in old age,
as a fine binding should be seen by morning light,
at noon and by moonlight."

—Robertson Davies

alt


"The profit of books
is according to the sensibility of the reader;
the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine,
until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart."

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

alt


"Books—the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity."

—George Steiner

alt


"The failure to read good books both enfeebles
the vision and stengthens our most fatal tendency—
the belief that the here and now is all there is."

—Allan Bloom

alt


"All good books have one thing in common—
they are truer than if they had really happened."

—Ernest Hemingway

alt

"Each friendship and love is the ultimate journey
where the soul is born and grows. The journey
is the drama of the heart's voyage into the tide
of possibilities which open before it. Indeed,
a book is a path of words which takes the heart
in new directions."

—John O'Donohue
alt

"In that abyss, I beheld how love held bound
Into one volume all the leaves whose flight
Is scattered through the universe around . . .
For everything the will has ever sought
Is gathered there, and there is every quest
Made perfect, which apart from it falls short."

—Dante
alt


"No man can be called friendless
who has God and the companionship of good books."

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

alt


"Books are the flowers or fruit stuck here or there on a tree
which has its roots deep down in the earth of our earliest life,
of our first experiences. But . . . to tell the reader anything
that his own imagination and insight have not already discovered
would need not a page or two of preface but a volume or two of autobiography."

—Virginia Woolf

alt


"Books are but waste paper unless we spend in action
the wisdom we get from thought—asleep. When we are weary
of the living, we may repair to the dead, who have nothing
of peevishness, pride, or design in their conversation."

—W. B. Yeats

alt


"The best of a book is not the thought which it contains,
but the thought which it suggests;
just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones
but in the echoes of our hearts."

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


alt


"The multitude of books is making us ignorant."

—Voltaire

 

alt

"If you can get the right book at the right time
you taste joys—not only bodily, physical,
but spiritual also, which pass one
out above and beyond one's miserable self,
as it were through a huge air,
following the light of another man's thought.
And you can never be quite the old self again."

—T. E. Lawrence

alt

"A book reads the better which is our own,
and has been so long known to us,
that we know the topography of its blots,
and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it
to having read it at tea with buttered muffins."

—Charles Lamb
alt


"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;
they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors,
and the most patient of teachers."

—Charles W. Eliot
alt


"Youth is a time when we find
the books we give up but do not get over."

—Lionel Trilling

alt


"Buying books would be a good thing
if one could also buy the time to read them in:
but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken
for the appropriation of their contents."

—Arthur Schopenhauer

alt


"There is more treasure in books
than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island,
and best of all, you can enjoy these riches
every day of your life."

--Walt Disney

 

 

 

 

 Adler



"In the case of good books,

the point is not to see how many of them you can get through,

but rather how many can get through to you."

—Mortimer J. Adler

alt


"You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks
like ladders to sniff books like perfumes
and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.
May you be in love every day for the next . . .
20,000 days. And out of that love,

remake a world."

—Ray Bradbury

alt

 


"There is something about the book
which fits the eye, the hand, and the mind:
it has achieved a perfect form,
which cannot be transcended."

—Jacques Barzun

alt



"And in reading of God's word,
he not always most profiteth,
is most ready in turning of the book,
in saying of it without the book;
but he that is most turned into it."

—Thomas Cranmer

 alt

 


"How deluded we sometimes are by the clear
notions we get out of books. They make us think
that we really understand things of which we
have no practical knowledge at all."

—Thomas Merton

Jacques Barzun: Portrait of a Mind
by Michael Murray

ISBN-13: 9781929490417
ISBN-10: 1929490410
Hardcover, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches
384 pages, Notes and References,
Appendices, Index
$26.95

Michael Murray recounts the career and ideas of Jacques Barzun, one of the twentieth century's leading intellectuals. Barzun was the author of some thirty books of biography, history, and cultural criticism, among them the best-sellers The House of Intellect, an indictment of governmental and foundation interference with the autonomy of scholars and universities, and From Dawn to Decadence, an argument that the West was falling into decay and incapacity.
   Barzun was author of a definitive life and times—Berlioz and the Romantic Century—which helped to restore a maligned composer to his place in the front rank, and to reassess a creative period then widely considered corrupt. And he composed a definitive biography (though not in the usual sense of the word) in his affectionate reminiscence of his intellectual mentor: A Stroll with William James.
   Barzun's influence was great but subtle, perhaps because of the range of his interests. For example, in the 1930s he was in print deploring the superstition of race; and books followed that cast light on Marxism, on the putative gulf between science and the humanities, on teaching and learning in schools and colleges, and on the social importance of the life of the mind. Science: The Glorious Entertainment was one such book, as were Teacher in America and Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage.
   His scope also suggests why Barzun as thinker is impossible to tag. Certainly he opposed the breakup into contending factions of his own field, historiography, and he decried the loss of collegiality among scholars in all disciplines. Specialization that sank into specialism ran counter to all that he stood for.
   Michael Murray describes Barzun's childhood in France, university training in the United States, work at Columbia University and as literary adviser to Charles Scribner's Sons, and, insofar as pertinent to his thought, his marriage into the Boston Lowells and his relation with the New York intellectuals.



Michael Murray compiled, edited, and introduced A Jacques Barzun Reader (2002), and is the author of Marcel Dupré: The Work of a Master Organist (1985), Albert Schweitzer, Musician (1994), and French Masters of the Organ (1998). He teaches a graduate course in library research and bibliography at Ohio State University.

Acclaim for Jacques Barzun: Portrait of a Mind

Also see Thomas Vinciguerra, "Wisdom of the Ancient," in Columbia Magazine, which includes an excerpt from the book.