unity of culture.” Of his learned colleaguesnin the arts, he therefore demandsnthat “talk and thought about art… conformnto the canons of common sense”nand that criticism be “written for thenlayman; an educated layman if possible,nbut a layman and not a professor.” Andnin his own work, Barzun convincinglyndemonstrates that such criticism is possiblenand that clarity precludes neithernsubtlety nor depth.nIhe persistent breadth of Barzun’sninterest makes his essays on “Culture andnHistory” seem a very natural outgrovrthnof the sections focusing on music. Innthese pieces on literature, biography,naesthetics, and cultural history, Barzunnevinces the same independence of judgmentnhe admires in James. Again andnagain he demonstrates ajamesian powernto resist the modish mendacities andnstupidities of our day. For Barzun, “thenreason or excuse for making any criticismnpublic … is to counteract conventionalnopinion, generally false,” and it is to thisnlonely task that he dedicates himself.nWith relatively few others, he affirms.nFaith as light or DarknessnIn Commonweal, a magazine fornCatholics with consciences honed bynMarxism, we read recently an explicationnof the liberation theology. The Comm.onwealnexegete wrote:nThis faith commitment leads to greaternawareness and analysis of socio-economicnstructures which perpetuatenpoverty, to active involvement innchanging these structures, and to a newnunderstanding of the faith in the lightnof this involvement.nAs fellow believers in spirituality, wenvalue hope. We thus hope that thenthinkers of liberation theology will thereforenpiously analyze Adam Smith,nS8inChronicles of Culturencontra the New Criticism and its criticalnoffspring, that subject matter and criticalnintent do matter in literary study andnthat the modern obsession with literarynform qua form, with the subconscious,nwith “il-literalism,” and with irony arendeceptive and destructive. (“Like the crynof Fire,” he quips, “the cry of Irony isnalways believed, in the interest of one’snown safety: one does not want to getncaught.”) Similarly iconoclastic, innmodern terms, is his disparaging of thenpseudoiconoclasm of modern dramantypified in a play depicting “some youngnlouts torturing a baby in a perambulator.”nTrue, Barzun is—like James—sufficientlynpliant to the currents of modernnskepticism to exclude from his aiticismnany orthodox conception of the transcendentnas an objective reality and thereforento accept resignedly the waning ofntraditional religion as a creative force.nBut, with James, he is still able to standnagainst the modern tide of secularism innhis sincere appreciation of the sacred as anvital dimension of human experience.n”Art and religion were related,” henobserves, “in the best periods.”nLIBERAL CULTURE ^nBastiat, Von Mises, Hayek, and Friedmannto acquire an awareness of why capitalismnhas made America, Japan, andnWestern Europe the wealthiest regionsnon earth, and try to understand why communismnhas severely retarded the economiesnof Russia, Eastern Europe, SoutheastnAsia, and Cuba. [DnnnWith James, Barzun is skepticalnabout all doctrines not firmly groundednin experience and is consequently forevernhammering on “the mind-hardened eardrums”nof ideologues with facts thatnvitiate their theories. Liberals he informsnthat their dogmatic rejection of restraintnand hierarchy is entrapping modern mannwithin “a jungle of laws and hindrances”;naesthetes he notifies that, as ansubtitute for religion, art is now “causingnthe anguish of pointiessness—the horrornof the absurd.” While others are busynmultiplying applications of Freud’sntheories to biographical study, Barzun isnpointing out that Freud’s own applicationnof his theories led him into fatuitynand circularity in his study of da Vinci.nWithout a predefined theoretical constructnto hide behind, Barzun mustnfollow the example of his idol, WilliamnJames, in relying upon his own powers ofnobservation and analysis. “All my life,”nBarzun writes, “I have taken the libertyn… to try to think straight about thensubjects that have interested me.” Notnsurprisingly, he finds that “fashionablencant” which endorses the wrong answersnand the “laissez faire” tolerance whichn”would preclude the finality of anyncritical findings” are both impedimentsnto the kind of consistent straight-thinkingnhe wishes to practice. Strictly, perhaps,nBarzun’s thought is not “straight,”nsince, as BeaFriedland observes in the introduction,n”some Barzunian dialectic”nfuses “presumed antitheses like elitismnand popularization.” But the swings ofnBarzun’s dialectic are always under controln, inevitably bringing the reader to restnat a predetermined conclusion: “Thencritic,” he explains, “begins in somenfamiliar key and modulates to his ownnpre-arranged full close.” One maynlegitimately disagree with Barzun atnsome points (as, for instance, when henargues that even the savage art wroughtnby “soured, destructive, nihilistic”ncreators will ultimately prove beneficialnby feeding our spirit “sensation till itnrecreates idea, emotion, and belief”),nbut no one need ever wonder how hen