the material of modern scholarship is by now not even the work itself but a serious kind of facsimile, an offprint made up for methodic purposes… students get this distorted “approach” and never reach the real thing‘ (p.16)


The modern student… has no cultivating encounter with the works of art he or she has been assigned. George Eliot has been read for the plight of women or for images of running water. ‘ (p.15)


The age of easy reference is one in which knowledge inevitably declines into information … our sense of boundless horizons presumably grows apace. But what we are experiencing is not the knowledge explosion so often boasted of; it is a torrent of information, made possible by first reducing the known to compact form and then bulking it up again – adding water. That is why the product so often tasted like dried soup. ‘ (p.40)


the wonder washes over [us] rather than into [us]’ ( p.127)

Excerpts taken from ‘The Culture We Deserve ‘ by Jacques Barzun -Ed. Wesleyan University Press 1989.

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