Diane's Reviews > From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present

From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun
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's review
May 29, 10

Details Western culture from the Renaissance to the present. The author follows a number of themes, including individualism, emancipation, primitivism, analysis, and abstraction, that he claims have shaped the past 500 years. He makes a persuasive case for the unity of this period. He argues that although Western culture is currently somewhat decadent, it is likely to enter a new phase of creativity soon to restart the cycle. He doesn't, however, address whether the characteristics mentioned above inherently lead to a breakdown in culture that only a communal culture of restraint can fix.

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