04 December 2010

A birthday

Jacques Barzun turned 103 years old a few days ago, on November 30.

Yes, that was not a typo: one hundred and three. He was born in 1907 in Créteil, France, the son of Henri-Martin and Anna-Rose Barzun. His father was well-connected with the modernist artists of that epoch, so Jacques knew as a child Guillaume Apollinaire, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp, and others of that rank.

I've paid tribute to him before: back when his age could still be stated with only two digits, and I'll just lnk to that now.

One of the better features of Leo Wong's "Barzun 100" website, created for such tributes, is the constant scrolling of Barzun quotes across the top of the home page. Some of these are clerihews, brief poems of four lines, with the AABB rhyme scheme, offering an incident from the life of a famous person. The first line of a clerihew is usually the name of that person.

Barzun is very fond of the form. One of his clerihews, scrolling past regularly, is as follows:

Henry James
Names no names
But Bostonians knew
Who was who.

Adding a link was my idea.

All the best to the birthday celebrant -- may Barzun continue to shatter conventional notions of the human life span!

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.