violence; the influx of the “new immigrants”n; not to mention the impact ofnthe electronic media on minds, youngnand old. Any serious educational reformneffort must address these questions innconcrete ways. Moreover, while the Proposalnprescribes the form which properneducation should follow, it leaves thenactual content of education—bothnsubstantive and moral—distressinglynvague. Finally, in its zeal for “equality”nand “democracy,” the Proposa/irnits atnpotentially dangerous acts, includingnnew rounds of government interventionn”to remedy the cultural inequality ofnThe Varieties of Religio-CriticalnExperiencenJacques Barzun: Critical Questions:nOn Music and Letters, Culture andnBiography, 1940-1980; University ofnChicago Press; Chicago.nDiane Johnson: Terrorists & Novelists;nAlfred A. Knopf; New York.nby Bryce ChristensennIdolatry, it appears, has critical consequences.nIdolizing William James,nJacques Barzun writes criticism reminiscentnof die great philosopher’s lucid investigationsnof profound questions.nApotheosizing George Sand, DianenJohnson writes reviews suggesting thentalented French novelist’s inability tondecide in whose bed she wished to stay.nThis is not, of course, to say that Barzun’snCritical Questions is devoted to expositionnof James’s pragmatism (thoughnsome of that is included) nor that Johnson’snTerrorists & Novelists is merely annapologia for the Baronne Dudevant’s lifenof free love (though it includes one), butnsimply that in their choice of demigodsnboth writers clearly reveal the basis fornMr. Christensen is an editorial internnwith the Chronicles.nhomes and environments.”nAdler and friends claim to representnthe spirits of Horace Mann, John Dewey,nand Robert Hutchins in their effort to extendnhumanistic knowledge to allnhuman beings. Yet, as Postman has suggested,nthis latter group of men at leastnworked within a cultural matrix that hadna clear vision of what children were andnhow educators should meet the young’snspecial needs. T^e Paideia Proposal attemptsnto rebuild the educational enterprisenon a rapidly crumbling culturalnfoundation. Such effort is an act of folly,nhoweverwell-meaning. Dntheir respective critical judgments. AsnBarzun observes: “The choice of ournidols, if it is conscious and free, definesnsomething in us—a kinship or an opposition;nwe may seek something we lack ornsomething close to what we possess.” FornBarzun and Johnson, admiration ofnJames and Sand, respectively, appears tonsignal kinship, not opposition. Clearly,nthe reason that Barzun singles James outnas “the philosopher … I trust and admirenabove all others” is that he sharesnmany of the qualities he attributes to thenHarvard psychologist: “great artistic giftsnand rich sensibility,” “artistry in words,”n”independent judgments in literature,”nand antipathy for “mere abstraction.”nBarz’un’s own rich “artistic sensibility”nand his masterful “artistry in words” arenespecially evident in this collection ofnrelatively short pieces, over half of whichnare devoted to “The Musical Life” inngeneral and to his favorite musician,nFrench composer and conductor HectornBerlioz, in particular. Unlike muchnmusic criticism, however, Barzun’s doesnnot concern itself exclusively with musicnper se, nor is it framed in technical termsnaccessible only to trained musicians.nBecause he hates to see music made “anthing apart, jealously or scornfully cut offnnnfrom the total sphere of pleasure and significance,”nBarzun insists on discussingnmusic within a context defined by thenother arts and by the life outside thenrecital hall. An insight concerning baroquenmusic becomes a comment aboutnRenaissance drama becomes a discoverynconcerning contemporary social attitudesnbecomes an observation aboutnlife itself—without ever becomingnsuperficial or superfluous. A discussionnof the meaning of “The MoonlightnSonata,” for example, takes the reader tonthe library, the theater, the museum, thenarmy camp, the chapel, and the dancenfloor; discourses about Beethoven andnBach somehow become investigations ofnthe nature of artistic criticism and thenrelationship between the professionalnand the general public; questions concerningnthe “ineffable” character ofnmusic find their answers in Shakespearenand semiotics. In examining the “eternalntriangle” of “life, art, discourse,” Barzunnnever dallies long in any one corner. Andnlike William James, who profitably venturedninto painting, philosophy, physiology,npsychology, and pedagogy, Barzunnranges widely, little regarding thenartificially contrived boundaries modernnprofessionals often set between theirnwork and that of the rest of mankind. Innthis he somewhat resembles Berlioz,nwhom he applauds for “embracing andnfusing all genres and materials.”nAs too many modern commentatorsndo not, Barzun perceives the frigidnsterility of art and criticism “divorcednfrom the actualities of human life” andnthe purblind haughtiness of modernnacademics who ignore the work ofnspecialists in other fields and whonunilaterally excommunicate “the greatnpublic. ” With unanswerable rigorn(lightened by the play of a trenchantnwit), he exposes the posturing of thenaesthetes who reduce music—or literature—tonmeaningless “pure form.”nWith delightfully irreverent humor, henpunctures the pomposities of self-seriousnand tunnel-visioned professionals andnchampions the free spirit of “the indispensablenamateur” who can “cherish thenApril 1983n