Saturday, October 14, 2006


Soon, word came from the foundations. Its executives and trustees formed a sizable club that met for luncheon once a month. I was invited to speak to them, presumably to defend what I had said about the adverse effect of their philanthropic work. I knew no more than three or four of the group and these not at all well. When the coffee was served I was introduced in a cool impartial way and I improvised in 25 minutes a summary of the points made in the book about what I called ‘The Three Enemies of Intellect.’ Then, with intentional ambiguity, I added that I was ‘questionable.’ But no questions came. Instead, to my surprise, a standing ovation.

— Jacques Barzun, The House of Intellect (1959), Preface to the Perennial Classics Edition, 2002, vii.